India to stage chemical emergency exercise event

A joint team comprised of the National Disaster Response Force and the Indian Army will represent India during an international chemical emergency exercise planned for October in Tunisia.

The exercise is planned by the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which is comprised of a group of 15 countries that have signed a treaty to enable a coordinated response to any chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear attack, the Times of India reports.
J. S. Notay, an advisor for the National Authority for Chemical Weapons Convention, told the Times of India that he was excited about the upcoming exercise.

“While the upcoming exercise in Tunisia will be the third in the series of such events that is held once every five years, India will be participating for the first time considering that the NDRF came into existence in 2005,” Notay said, the Times of India reports.

Participants got a sneak preview of what to expect during a demonstration this week in Talegaon, near Pune.

The demonstration simulated a scenario of a chemical bomb blast at a sports complex and an elaborate response by the Indian team to search out and rescue people trapped under the rubble and in the parking lot.

K.M. Singh, a member of the National Disaster Management Authority who was also on hand for the demonstration, told the Times of India that he believed it was important for all member-countries to know the kind of coordinated response they are supposed to mount in the event of a CBRN attack.

“The NDRF is equipped with some of the best available rescue equipment while the training and infrastructure needs too are being taken care of well,” Singh told the Times of India. “Two more NDRF battalions are to come up soon at Patna in Bihar and Vijaywada in Andhra Pradesh to add to the existing eight battalions. In the last three years, the NDRF teams have been summoned for search and rescue missions on 91 occasions involving calamities such as cyclones, earthquakes, building collapses and post-tsunami relief operation, among others. The force has saved or rescued close to 1.36 people, collectively for these occasions.”