Army chief General M.M. Naravane on Monday said the outbreak of COVID-19 has taught everyone many lessons, and highlighted the importance of global and regional cooperation while tackling any pandemic-like situation.
He was speaking at the inauguration of PANEX-21, a trans-national, multi-agency exercise organised in Pune from December 20 to 22 with a focused aim to "foster jointness and develop capabilities in disaster management aspects for the BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) nations".
General Naravane said the outspread of the COVID-19 pandemic across the world has taught everyone many lessons in terms of preventive control, mitigation strategy and protocols. "We all have witnessed in the recent past the massive disaster caused by the COVID-19 pandemic since the end of 2019 in the entire world and which is still causing havoc in many countries," he said.
"India has already seen its worst effects during the second wave in April-May 2021, during which we lost a lot of precious lives. The COVID-19 pandemic has, indeed, congressed the world community together to tackle the challenges and to mitigate at the earliest," he said. The development of various vaccines and vaccination drives to inoculate citizens at the earliest is a major step in this regard, he noted.
"The outbreak of the pandemic also witnessed the world community rising to the circumstances with incredible and farfetched levels of not only cooperation amongst each other, but also garnering support to provide assistance in terms of medicines and other administrative requirements of the affected states during these testing times," he said.
General Naravane said the country is well-versed that a natural disaster will not wait for the pandemic situation to subside. "Moreover, a dual disaster is a current reality that we must be prepared for, so as to mitigate its impact on our populations. Therefore, the importance of trans-national cooperation to gain regional cooperation on this is imperative. BIMSTEC is such a group of member nations which share many commonalities and have been involved culturally & economically since many years," he said. The BIMSTEC regional organisation comprises Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand, besides India.
-With PTI Inputs