“Actions of one nation can affect many other nations.”
This was the premise of Manmohan Singh’s speech at the 2nd Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction. The Prime Minister advised policymakers not to focus on natural calamities alone and urged them to show cooperative spirit in dealing with man-made disasters also.
Singh warned about the threat of terrorism in the region, saying it “looms large in many parts of our region and could trigger disasters across borders”.
“Modern societies must also prepare to come together to deal with man-made disasters — be they industrial disasters or disasters caused by terrorist attacks.”
He lauded regional efforts to set up a tsunami warning system and counted the catastrophic effect of global warming and climate change as the biggest disaster that could still be prevented.
“Whereas we have only nature to blame for natural disasters, we cannot say the same for man-made disasters. Actions of one nation can affect many other nations,” he told an audience of ministers and experts from over 50 countries.
“Disasters know no political boundaries and we are all equally vulnerable to them,” he added, saying he firmly believed this was one area where nations must cooperate to find collective solutions to the challenges.
The Prime Minister said health issues like HIV and the Asian Flu were new challenges that needed to be addressed. India already has a legal framework in place that Home Minister Shivraj Patil said was being studied by several nations to put suitable laws in place.
The two-day conference will end on Thursday with a Delhi Declaration that is also expected to take note of the threats of disasters as a result of the impacts of climate change, particularly glacial melts in the Himalayas, erratic extreme weather events and rise in sea level.