India and Switzerland to collaborate on Urban Search and Rescue

Press releases, 26.02.2024

Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) will mentor the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) battalion for its international classification. This will mark the resumption of collaboration between India and Switzerland in Urban Search and Rescue (USAR).

The International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG), of which Switzerland is a founding member, is a UN based and globally recognised benchmark of the abilities of USAR teams making themselves available for international assistance. The international certification to this highest standard enables disaster-affected countries to prioritise accepting international response support from USAR teams that can add proven value to their national capacity, and facilitating cooperation between USAR teams during operations.

In the framework of this collaboration, multiple Swiss experts will work closely with the NDRF battalion in Ghaziabad with a view to mentor it to achieve the IEC certification over the next two years. Earlier, from 2008 to 2017, Switzerland supported NDRF to enhance its capacities for Urban Search and Rescue.

NDRF, with its 16 battalions of personnel trained and equipped for a swift and effective response to any type of disaster, has been living up to its motto of आपदा सेवा सदैव सर्वत्र (Sustained Disaster Response Service anytime, anywhere), not just within India but also internationally, notably the Japan Triple Disaster-2011, Nepal Earthquake 2015 and Türkiye Earthquake 2023.

This collaboration is another milestone as Switzerland and India commemorate 75 years of friendship and over six decades of Indo-Swiss cooperation. In 2003, India and Switzerland signed an inter-governmental agreement on “Cooperation in the event of disasters”. Switzerland through the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation has been supporting a series of interventions on capacity building for disaster response and risk management. This includes a collaboration with the National Disaster Management Authority on capacity building for Glacial Lake Outburst Flood Risk Management since 2019. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation collaborates with Indian authorities through cooperation projects in the fields of climate change mitigation (low-carbon cement, energy efficiency, renewable energy), adaptation (cities’ climate action plans, solar irrigation, disaster risk management in Himalayan states) and environment (air pollution and natural resource management). 

For more information, please contact:

Ruchita Jindal
Country Advisor - Communication
Embassy of Switzerland