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September 15, 2017

Korea: Japan draws in India

  • Hinting at India’s Pakistan-related concerns, Press Secretary of the government of Japan Norio Maruyama said Tokyo could help India deal with the threat of cross-border terrorism.

Help for Northeast

  • In a significant move, Japan also stated its interest in the strategically important northeastern region of the country. Japan, at present, has two infrastructure projects in Meghalaya and Mizoram and more projects are likely to be added to the list after feasibility studies, said Mr. Maruyama.
  • Both the points about North Korea and the reference to Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy – developed to deal with the Chinese influence – are significant in view of the now-resolved Doklam crisis that erupted between India and China.
  • The two leaders also pointed out that maritime cooperation between the Japan Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF) and the Indian Navy had expanded to include ‘anti-submarine aspects’ and acknowledged the need for greater maritime domain awareness (MDA) in the Indo-Pacific Region. Both sides also agreed to support small islands in the region as part of their common strategy.
  • The joint statement emphasised expansion of joint exercises in areas of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HA/DR), peacekeeping operations and counter-terrorism, which will also include joint field exercises between the Japanese and Indian land forces next year. It further stated, “Both sides noted recent progress in… the commencement of the technical discussion for the future research collaboration in the area of Unmanned Ground Vehicles and Robotics.”
  • The statement described the state-of-the-art U.S.-2 amphibian aircraft as a symbol of “high degree of trust between the two countries.” Briefing the media, Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar said “very serious negotiation is on regarding the issue.”



‘Fly’ on train from Mumbai by 2022

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe on Thursday laid the foundation stone in Ahmedabad for the country’s first Rs. 1,10,000 crore, 508 km high-speed rail project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad. The ambitious project is being implemented with nearly 90% financial support and technology from Japan.
  • To be built on elevated corridor with a seven-km undersea tunnel in Mumbai, the project will be based on the famed Japanese Shinkansen high-speed railway system with a record of zero casualties in its 50 years of operation.
  • India’s Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd and Japan’s Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd will tie up for manufacturing the rolling stock for bullet train project, Mr. Abe said. Stressing on the strong Indo-Japan partnership, Mr. Abe said, “A strong India is in favour of Japan and a strong Japan is in favour of India.”

CBSE issues new safety guidelines

  • After two incidents of gruesome crimes against children were reported in the National Capital Region last week, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has issued new safety and security guidelines for all schools. The schools will face de-recognition if they don’t follow the guidelines.

Healthy environment

  • “Children are spending most of their time in school, the concern of parents about the safety of school children is increasing every other day. It is a fundamental right of a child to engage and study in an environment where he or she feels safe and is free from any form of physical or emotional abuse or harassment,” the notification said.
  • Among the instructions issued by the CBSE were safety audits of schools done by their respective local police stations, installation of CCTV cameras at all vulnerable areas inside schools and limiting the entry of outsiders.
  • The CBSE asked the schools to ensure that support staff was employed only from authorised agencies and proper records are maintained. “Verification and evaluation for non-teaching staff such as, bus drivers, conductors, peon and other support staff may be done very carefully and in a detailed manner,” the directive read.
  • Additionally, schools were also asked to constitute separate committees for redressal of grievances of the public, staff, parents and students. Further, the board also directed the schools to constitute an internal complaints committee for complaints regarding sexual harassment and committees under Protection of Children from Sexual Offence Act, 2012. “Details of these committees along with contact details shall be displayed prominently on school notice boards and conspicuously on the school website for information of all stakeholders” said the CBSE.
  • Making guidelines mandatory for all schools, the notification said, “Any violation or lapses with regard to safety and well being of children in school campus would invite appropriate action including the disaffiliation of the school as per the provisions under affiliation bye-laws of the board.”

‘Give more respect to regional languages’

  • President Ram Nath Kovind asked Hindi-speaking people to give more respect and space to regional languages and their speakers in a bid to make Hindi more popular across the country. Mr. Kovind also said doctors should write prescriptions in Devanagari script and other languages.
  • Addressing a function on the occasion of ‘Hindi Divas’ here, the President said Hindi continued to face opposition in some parts of the country even though it became an official language many decades ago.