‘Covid has reaffirmed centrality of multilateralism’

New Delhi, Nov 24 (Bureau) The Covid-19 pandemic has reaffirmed the centrality of multilateralism, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Wednesday as he virtually inaugurated the 5th World Congress on Disaster Management. The Defence Minister said India’s engagement with the world and especially the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) has been robustly strong, lauding the Armed Forces for being the first responders in the region for Humanitarian Aid and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations.

He said, India’s unique position in the IOR, complemented by a capability of the Armed Forces, enables it to contribute significantly in HADR situations. “Our Armed Forces have time and again demonstrated that they care for and stand by the country’s partners in times of need without distinguishing between natural or man-made disasters,” Singh said. Singh shared his views on the challenging geo-political landscape and the traditional and non-traditional threats including natural calamities like Covid-19, and said, India has developed a large capacity for production of the vaccines and is extending help to many countries.

He emphasised on the need for a collective solution to deal with global challenges in the post-pandemic world. “The pandemic has reaffirmed the centrality of multilateralism in the interconnected world for matters not only related to international security but also disaster management,” he said. WCDM is being organised at IIT Delhi from Nov 24-27. The theme is ‘Technology, Finance and Capacity for Building Resilience to Disasters in the context of COVID-19’.