Maritime Logistics in National and Regional ‘Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief’ (HADR) Scenarios
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‘Humanitarian Logistics’ is a well-established field of both, ‘scholarship’ and ‘practice’ in the Armed Forces of India and forms the core element of ‘Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief’ operations, which are central to the assurance of human security at both, a national level as well as within the Indo-Pacific. Unlike in the civilian world, where ‘Humanitarian Logistics’ is less well-established a discipline than ‘Commercial Logistics’ and ‘Military Logistics’, the Indian Armed Forces—especially the Navy—have largely been successful in gainfully drawing upon the latter to provide competence and coherence to the former. This is of particular relevance given that India is viewed as a ‘net security-provider’ within the IOR and beyond—a region that is the locus of over 40% of the world’s natural- and man-made disasters (Chauhan 2016). The Navy’s response to the tsunami of December 2004 offers a telling case study of the comprehensive manner in the various intricacies of HADR Ops and Humanitarian Logistics are handled. The concept of ‘logistic bricks’ and ‘mission planning’ form important foundational elements of both, preparedness and execution. At a pan-regional level, political and cultural sensitivities need to be factored. The planning and execution methodologies of these regionally inclusive HADR operations, as also the lessons learnt from them in terms of ‘preparedness’, ‘material wherewithal’, ‘supply-chain management’ and ‘organisational structures’, are all eminently capable of being extrapolated. Emulation—by the constituent navies of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) and the Western Pacific Naval Symposium (WPNS)—of the regionally inclusive HADR missions planned and executed by the US Pacific Command is strongly recommended (Marsec News 2013).
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