Japanese doubts about Indian deminers - report

[TamilNet, Monday, 05 July 2004, 23:18 GMT]
The Japanese government has turned down a request for additional funds for two Indian mine clearing organisations - Sarvatra and Horizon - citing doubts about their competence, The Island newspaper reported Sunday. The funds were requested from Japan by the Milinda Moragoda Institute for People’s Empowerment (MMIPE), the paper said.

Japanese officials had said that they were not satisfied with what they called the quality of mine clearing carried out by the two Indian NGOs which are manned by retired Indian Army personnel.

“The Japanese had said the two NGOs were not observing international standards in mine clearance,” the paper said.

The Island said MMIPE had requested a sum of US$ 4,345,000 from the Japanese - US$ 815,100 for itself, US $ 1.82 million for Sarvatra and US$ 1.71 million for Horizon.

The UNDP has been asked to help the two Indian NGOs to improve, the paper said, adding the Norwegian government was also “taking action to help the NGOs to improve their capabilities and standards.”

The Norwegian People's Aid (NPA), the British Mine Action Group (MAG), Swiss Foundation for Mine Action (FSD), HALO Trust, Japanese Centre for Conflict Prevention (JCCP), Danish Demining Group (DDG), Sarvatra (Indian) and HORIZON (Indian) are active in the Northeast.

Around 16 expatriates serve as technical advisors and program managers to these international groups, The Island said.

The Sri Lanka Army was being trained by RONCO with US assistance. The army will have 600 local deminers by next month (August). 300 have already been trained. Sources pointed out that the NPA and the MAG have trained around 900 locals as deminers while the DDG and the FSD have local deminers working with them.

 

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