With an already strong defence cooperation programme with several bilateral partners, the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) is now set to benefit from the expertise of the Mexican Army in the area of disaster response and management.This was confirmed Wednesday when President David Granger met with Mexico’s Ambassador to Guyana, Ivan Robero Sierra Medel. The meeting was held at State House.The Ambassador said that the move to strengthen military-to-military relations between the two countries came out of discussions at the Caricom-Mexico Summit, which was held in Belize in October 2017. Upon the invitation of the Mexican Army, two GDF officers are to be identified to be part of a four-month training programme, which is scheduled to commence later this month at the National Defence College in Mexico City.The Mexican Army has over 50 years of experience and expertise, particularly in the area of disaster response, training from which the GDF can derive significant benefit.Ambassador Sierra Medel explained that in Mexico, the military has a comprehensive strategy consisting of six pillars to deal with natural disasters. These include: search and rescue, evacuation of at-risk communities, interaction with the population during a crisis, protection of families and securing communities, and these are the areas in which the two GDF officers will be trained.Expressing his appreciation to the Ambassador and the Mexican Government, President Granger said, “I see this as the start of a relationship that we will continue to build on and over time, we will be able to develop our own disaster response capabilities.”Minister of State, Joseph Harmon; GDF Chief-of-Staff, Brigadier Patrick West; acting Director General of the Civil Defence Commission, Colonel Kester Craig and several other senior officers of the Force were also present at the meeting.Guyana and Mexico established formal diplomatic ties on March 1, 1973. Since then, the two States have collaborated in a number of areas, particularly in the area of agriculture. Last year, Guyana exported 113 tonnes of paddy to Mexico. Additionally, eight Guyanese students received scholarships and were currently pursuing studies in various fields, including agriculture, water management, science (Master’s programme) and oil and gas. Mexico is also assisting Guyana with the resuscitation of its coconut industry.