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India an important region: Japanese Navy Chief

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By Anjali Ojha

India is an “important” country in the Indian Ocean region and will have to take responsibility for security in the area, said Japan Maritime Self Defence Force chief Admiral Tomohisa Takei who is here to take part in the International Fleet Review.

The Admiral also said that the IFR is an important event to enhance cooperation among the navies and will provide a platform for further dialogue.

“We want better cooperation in the India Ocean; India is a very important country in the region. We would like to enhance relations with India,” Admiral Takei told the agency.

“India, with its location, will have to take responsibility for peace and security in the Indian Ocean region, from East Africa to the South China Sea,” he said.

The Japanese Navy Chief highlighted the fact that the Indian Ocean region accounted for 50 percent of the world’s population and has huge volumes of trade passing through the waters.

“India is in the centre of the region”.

India and Japan are often called by experts as “natural allies” in the region. Defence relations between the two countries have been enhanced of late, with the visit of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe giving it a further push.

Japan, with India and the US, is also a part of naval exercise Malabar, which has caused discomfort to China.

The exercise, which started as a bilateral one between India and the US now has Japan as a permanent partner. In 2007, when Japan and Australia were included in the exercise, China had issued a demarche to the countries.

Recently, on a tour to India, US Pacific Fleet Commander Admiral Scott Swift said that China’s objection was “fine” as it was not a part of the exercise. He also said that the exercise should be “inclusive” without declaring whether the US wanted China’s participation.

Asked if involving China in the exercise can be considered, Admiral Takei said: “There is no difference in China or any other country.”

The Admiral described the IFR, which saw the participation of 50 navies, as “a platform which can enhance interoperability”.

“Exercise at peace time makes the foundation for the emergency.”

Takei also fondly remembered his participation as a “young captain” in the previous edition of the IFR in 2001.

“The world is taking India more seriously now, India has grown as a nation,” he said.

Japan as sent its anti-submarine destroyer JS Matsuyuki to participate in the IFR.

In October last year, Indian Navy had also sent its Shivalik class stealth multi-role frigate INS Sahyadri to participate in a fleet review organised by the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force.

The IFR held at Visakhapatnam saw participation from 50 navies, with 24 foreign ships, and 71 Indian Navy ships. This was the second time the IFR was organised in India — the largest military exercise the country has held so far.

China, the US and Australia were among the participating navies.

(IANS) (pic courtesy: idrw.org)

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Indian Government Spent Nearly Rs 4Kcr on Swachh Bharat Info, Education

“The Swachh Bharat mission can serve as a model for other countries around the world that urgently need to improve access to sanitation for the world’s poorest."

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swachhata abhiyan
The government's much publicised Swachh Bharat Mission -- which aims to enhance the level of sanitation in India and make the country open defecation free (ODF). Flickr

To make the Swachh Bharat Mission a success, India mobilised huge resources for information, education and communication (IEC) activities, with a new report estimating that the cash expenditure by the government, private sector, and the development community to be between Rs 3,500-4,000 crore in five years since the programme’s launch.

Of this cash spend, around 20 per cent was spent by the erstwhile Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, around 35 per cent by the state sanitation departments, around 25 per cent by other government ministries, and around 20 per cent by the private sector and the development sector collectively, said the report by consultancy firm Dalberg Advisors.

Under the Swachh Bharat Mission, the government has shown remarkable ability to leverage resources across the public sector, private sector, media, and civil society, to make sanitation a mass movement in India.

In fact, the study estimates that the Swachh Bharat Mission mobilised a spend equivalent worth Rs 22,000-Rs 26,000 crore in monetary and non-monetary information, education and communication activities.

The researchers reached this figure by identifying the key activities and costs by different actors, modelling the number of “exposures” created, and estimating the investment required if the government were to “buy” these exposures in an efficient market.

An average person living in rural India was exposed to between 2,500-3,300 SBM related messages over the last five years, according to the study titled “An assessment of the reach and value of IEC activities under Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen)”.

Young Indians
Young Indians want to strengthen the ‘Swachh Bharat’ initiative. Wikimedia Commons

A large majority of these messages were routed via newly constructed toilets, mass media, and the

Swachh Bharat logo. Other significant contributors included ambient media such as wall murals and hoardings, and other conventional channels such as inter-personal communication (IPC), digital media, and cinema.

Since the launch of the Swachh Bharat Mission on October 2, 2014, over 10 crore households toilets have been built in the country, leading to a significant improvement in sanitation coverage and reduction in open defecation.

Since 2014, engagement from the top political and government leadership, especially the Prime Minister, induced catalytic participation across segments, giving the cause of sanitation consistent attention and focus.

This translated into a mission mode approach where a range of government ministries, private sector organisations, the philanthropic ecosystem, civil society, and the media and entertainment sector participated to bring sanitation messaging and awareness to citizens at significant scale.

Also Read: Motorola Launches its First Smart TV in India

When Modi visits the US later this month, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will honour the success of Swachh Bharat that has transformed lives around the country.

“Globally, sanitation-related diseases kill nearly 500,000 children under the age of five every year. Yet despite its importance, sanitation has not received significant attention. A lot of governments are not willing to talk about it, in part because there are not easy solutions.

Before the Swachh Bharat mission, over 500 million people in India did not have access to safe sanitation, and now, the majority do. There is still a long way to go, but the impacts of access to sanitation in India are already being realised,” the Gates Foundation said in a statement.

“The Swachh Bharat mission can serve as a model for other countries around the world that urgently need to improve access to sanitation for the world’s poorest.” (IANS)