General Studies IIISecurity



Raksha Mantri witnesses multi-agency HADR exercise PANEX 21 in Pune


  • It is  a Multi-Agency multi national disaster relief exercise (MAE)
  • The PANEX-21 is being held between December 20-22, 2021.
  • The exercise is to be held among the BIMSTEC countries: Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, India and Thailand.
  • On the second day of PANEX 21, a Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Exercise for BIMSTEC member nations, organized at College of Military Engineering in Pune,
  • It shows demonstration of the capabilities of the Indian Armed Forces to launch swift, coordinated and incremental relief efforts in case of occurrence of any natural calamity in a particular region.
    • The exercise saw a coordinated display of rescue and relief efforts by Indian Army, Navy and Air Force. In simulated disaster conditions, the synergized application of resources of the Armed Forces and other premiere disaster relief agencies of the country resulted in rescue of the stranded people as well as early restoration of essential services and opening of all lines of communications.
  • The main aim of the exercise is to build regional cooperation in responding to natural disasters.
  • The equipment display, organized in association with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), is aimed to showcase the niche industrial capabilities and capacities of the Indian industry on disaster relief operations.

How will the PANEX 21 exercise be conducted?

  • The participants of the exercise will be divided into eight syndicates. One syndicate from the participating countries and two from India.
  • It will analyse the capabilities of member states in responding to natural disaster. The countries will share their best practices.
  • The exercise will review the procedures of preparedness and response. It will then recommend the evolution of organised structure.
  • During the exercise, the countries will discuss military – to – military cooperation protocol.

Why is the exercise important?

  • Recently, the cyclones in Bay of Bengal are becoming more disastrous. This is mainly due to climate change. The increase in surface sea temperature is making the cyclones more powerful. The increase in sea – surface temperature increases the wind speeds of the cyclones. The devastation caused by Cyclone Amphan was 13 billion USD.
  • The unplanned development in Ecological Sensitive Zones fail to address the risks posed by the increasing intense cyclones.

For these reasons, it is essential to remain prepared. Therefore, there is a need for international cooperation among the coastal countries.


  • The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is an international organization of seven nations of South Asia and Southeast Asia
  • BIMSTEC combined gross domestic product of $3.5 trillion (2018).
  • The BIMSTEC member states – Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand – are among the countries dependent on the Bay of Bengal.
  • Founded:  6 June 1997
  • Headquartered in Dhaka (Bangladesh)
  • Fourteen priority sectors of cooperation have been identified and several BIMSTEC centres have been established to focus on those sectors. 
  • A BIMSTEC free trade agreement is under negotiation, also referred to as the mini SAARC.
  • Leadership is rotated in alphabetical order of country names.


  • On 6 June 1997, a new sub-regional grouping was formed in Bangkok under the name BIST-EC (Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand Economic Cooperation).
  • Following the inclusion of Myanmar on 22 December 1997 during a special Ministerial Meeting in Bangkok, the Group was renamed ‘BIMST-EC’ (Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand Economic Cooperation).
  • In 1998, Nepal became an observer.
  • In February 2004, Nepal and Bhutan become full members.
  • On 31 July 2004, in the first Summit the grouping was renamed as BIMSTEC or the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation.


There are 14 main sectors of BIMSTEC along technological and economic cooperation among south Asian and southeast Asian countries along the coast of the Bay of Bengal.

  1. Trade & Investment
  2. Transport & Communication
  3. Energy
  4. Tourism
  5. Technology
  6. Fisheries
  7. Agriculture
  8. Public Health
  9. Poverty Alleviation
  10. Counter-Terrorism & Transnational Crime
  11. Environment & Disaster Management
  12. People-to-People Contact
  13. Cultural Cooperation
  14. Climate Change

Sectors 7 to 13 were added at the 8th Ministerial Meeting in Dhaka in 2005 while the 14th sector was added in 11th Ministerial Meeting in New Delhi in 2008.

Member nations are denoted as Lead Countries for each sector.

  • Provides cooperation to one another for the provision of training and research facilities in educational vocational and technical fields
  • Promote active collaboration and mutual assistance in economic, social, technical and scientific fields of common interest
  • Provides help to increase the socio-economic growth of the member countries

Source: PIB

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