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Armed forces undergoing nuclear, biological warfare training

Faced with challenges of having two nuclear armed neighbours, the Indian armed forces are undergoing a training programme of emergency preparedness and response arrangement, should there be an non-conventional warfare in future, be it nuclear, biological or chemical.

The Ministry of Defence is running a Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) training curriculum which is especially designed to assist the Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS), an inter-services organisation, to improve its emergency preparedness, according to a report by the Standing Committee on Defence.

The AFMS is responsible for training medical officers and paramedics as part of capacity building for CBRN preparedness.

“There has been an increasing threat of a non-conventional war... in the future. The committee were informed that with regard to CBRN, till now, there is no experience. However, a training module has been started and preparation is on,” stated the Standing Committee report which was tabled at the Lok Sabha on Thursday.

Deteriorating relations ::

According to Defence Ministry sources, the training is being conducted with an eye on deteriorating relations between India and its nuclear-armed neighbours China and Pakistan.

The country has witnessed a quantum jump in incidents of ceasefire violations with Pakistan in the last three years, with several incidents of Indian soldiers getting killed. Similarly, with China, India is presently in a military standoff over the Doklam region in Bhutan near the tri-junction area.

The report also noted that the training curriculum for CBRN medical preparedness is primarily based on understanding the security context behind national and international CBRN preparedness and response.

The module also takes into account the methods deployed to recognise and quickly respond to a CBRN incident. This also looks into integration of civil-military CBRN training with a special focus on standardisation and uniformity in the curriculum across all establishments.

“We cannot ignore the fact that we have two nuclear-armed neighbours...And we have problems with both. While there is no immediate danger of a nuclear warfare, we cannot afford to be complacent also,” said Laxman Behera, Research Fellow at Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA).

The Standing Committee was also apprised of the fact that a data bank of CBRN-trained manpower has also been prepared. The training is also conducted periodically at command, corps and division level.

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