‘Civil defence needs to prepare itself against air raids’

Vinson Kurian Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on September 30, 2020 Published on September 30, 2020

Mock drills by China are not a good signal, says Army veteran Sanjay Srivastava

India needs to beef up its civil defence organisation and infrastructure in the light of reports that China is conducting mock civil defence drills in the Lhasa region to improve public awareness of the concept in that country, says Colonel (retired) Sanjay Srivastava, an Army veteran.

Srivastava is also a disaster management expert and consultant, and Chairman of the Climate Resilient Observing-Systems Promotion Council; Convener of the Lightning Resilient India Campaign; and General Manager of the National Seismic Risk Mitigation Programme.

Sign of war preparation

Conduct of mock drills in civil defence is usually considered a sign of war preparation, Srivastava told BusinessLine. In India, civil defence volunteers have always proved their mettle, be it during the war against the raging coronavirus, natural disasters, or real war, he added.

The armed forces take up the role of active defence to outmanoeuvre an adversary, slow down or derail the attacker and strike back. On the other hand, the role of passive defence — preventive actions against the active strike to mitigate its effects — is performed by the civil defence.

Also read: India ready to deal with all contingencies on China border, says Rajnath Singh

Passive defence is the bedrock for the active defence, which defines the ability of a nation to absorb an attack and quickly recover. The civil defence preparation is usually done during the peace time. India’s Civil Defence Act, 1968, entrusts the role of protection of life and property to civil defence.

Link to build response capacity

These warriors are the vital link to build response capacities of communities in the face of a war or a disaster. The civil defence had come into being during the 1962 Chinese aggression and made relevant contribution that went into the structuring of the Civil Defence Act, 1968.

Srivastava quoted Winston Churchill as saying that ‘failure to prepare is to invite failure itself.’ Any responsible government can ill-afford to neglect its civil defence in a testing geo-political environment. Churchill had called civil defence the fourth arm of the defence services.

“Our Armed Forces are capable, efficient and prepared but without the support of a prepared community, it will make things difficult to face a formidable enemy like China. The civil defence needs to revitalise itself against air raids and war-like situations,” Srivastava added.

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Published on September 30, 2020
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