India’s Disaster Risk Reduction Journey: Opportunities for Strengthening Partnerships in the Indo-Pacific
India’s unique conditions make it vulnerable to multiple natural and human-caused disasters. The country’s journey toward holistic and modern disaster risk reduction practices began more than 20 years ago when several natural disasters resulted in thousands of deaths and enormous economic losses. Over the course of the past two decades, India’s disaster management approach evolved from a reactive, search-and-rescue, and relief-centered approach primarily centered on flood and drought to a proactive approach that includes prevention, mitigation, preparedness, capacity building, risk reduction, technological investment and advancements, community involvement, and risk resilience for a far wider range of hazards.
The Asia Foundation, through its India-U.S. Triangular Development Partnership, a program funded by USAID, is working toward realizing this vision and strengthening India’s and the United State’s development cooperation footprint in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond. Disaster risk reduction, climate-smart agriculture, and renewable energy are sectors where India demonstrates policy leadership and technical skills and can provide sustainable solutions. This study maps India’s disaster management capabilities and identifies opportunities for India and the developing countries in the Pacific Islands, Southeast Asia, and South Asia to partner for promising solutions.
The report provides a detailed analysis of India’s expertise in establishing well-defined institutional systems, legislative, policy, and planning frameworks, robust search and rescue capabilities, improved early warning systems, technological advancements for disaster risk management, improved emergency communication, expanded disaster resource and knowledge networks, emergency operations centers, enhanced response capabilities and systems, and post-disaster mental health management. The study also identifies opportunities for India-U.S. triangular cooperation across several countries in the Indo-Pacific region.