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Sushma Swaraj
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MEA launches initiative to hold limb fitment camps in various countries

The limb fitment camps, which aim to provide for the physical, economic and social rehabilitation of the differently-abled, will be fully sponsored by the MEA.

 

New Delhi | The Ministry of External Affairs on Tuesday launched a humanitarian initiative under which it will partner with a charitable organization for holding artificial limb fitment camps in various countries as part of Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary commemoration.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, launching the ‘India for Humanity’ initiative here, said such camps will initially be held in 12 countries identified through Indian missions.

In the year-long humanitarian programme, the ministry is partnering with Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti (BMVSS) better known for its trademark ‘Jaipur Foot’.

BMVSS is among the world’s largest organizations for the fitment of artificial limbs and has served over 1.73 million amputees.

The limb fitment camps, which aim to provide for the physical, economic and social rehabilitation of the differently-abled around the world by helping them regain their mobility and dignity to become self-respecting and productive members of the society, will be fully sponsored by the MEA, the ministry said in a statement.

Speaking at the launch event attended by resident heads of mission and other members of the diplomatic corps, along with senior officials, Swaraj lauded BMVSS and its founder and patron D R Mehta.

BMVSS’ iconic Jaipur Foot costs a fraction of what similar products produced by leading multinationals making artificial limbs cost, and is also much lighter than all the others, she said.

“Mahatma Gandhi’s life is an inspiration for all. He led the world in its struggle for freedom from colonization, slavery, poverty, discrimination and above all, from human failings.

“With the launch of ‘India for Humanity’, we seek to celebrate the humanist values espoused by him (Mahatma Gandhi) — compassion and inclusiveness of every human being in society and service of mankind,” Swaraj said.

Foreign policy is not merely about fostering better relations between countries, but it is also about sharing what “we have with others”, she said.

“It is about reaching out to people in other countries to see whether we can make a difference to their lives. It is about empowering our people’s lives.

“It is about coming together to collectively find solutions to problems that plague our world,” Swaraj said.

It is important not to forget that behind every policy that is made, behind every step that is taken and behind every initiative that is launched, there is a human being at the end who will and should stand to benefit, she said.

“Since our government took charge, we have tried to inject, inter alia a sense of caring, personal touch and compassion in our foreign policy by reaching out to stakeholders both in India and abroad, especially those who may have otherwise had difficulty to get themselves heard and their needs addressed,” she said.

She also invited other countries to participate in this programme and make it a success. After the event, asked about sexual harassment allegations against a junior minister in MEA, Swaraj did not reply.

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