When Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe comes Jan 26 as the special guest for the Republic Day Parade, the visit would also see state-run news broadcaster All India Radio (AIR) launch a special programme on connecting its millions of listeners with the world - India 360.
AIR is launching the eight-minute weekly programme Jan 26, beginning with Japan - which would include interesting facts about the country, on India-Japan relations, a byte by the Indian ambassador - and maybe from Prime Minister Abe too, according to AIR Director General (News) Archana Datta.
"India 360 is our endeavour on connecting listeners with the world," Datta told IANS.
The venture is being done in coordination with the ministry of external affairs' external publicity division, which would provide the inputs, said the top official.
The programme would be part of the programme Aaj Savere and Parikrama on FM Gold on Fridays.
"FM radio is highly popular, its reach is very wide. India 360 would be an effective means to inform the wide swathe of listeners about different countries and India's relations with them," external affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin told IANS.
The Jan 26 programme would include a byte by External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, said Datta.
And to keep the programme interactive, there would be a small quiz question at the end with prizes for the first three winners.
"The quiz would help us connect with the listeners... We are planning to give as prize, music CDs of our recorded music," Datta said.
The programme would be in English. They are mulling a Hindi version of it too, but after a few months," she said.
A country from each continent would be featured on the programme. After Japan, the countries to be featured would be the Netherlands, Peru and Egypt.
The countries are first well researched, and interesting nuggets of information dug out for listeners, including on the Indian connection, and not to forget the Bollywood connection, said Datta. Snatches of music from the host country and some Hindi songs would be thrown in.
According to Akbaruddin, "We felt we should use FM radio's growing reach as a platform to inform ordinary people about India's foreign policy in simple, lucid terms."
While AIR does have programmes on international relations as part of its talks programme, featuring experts and commentators, India 360 is aimed at the common listener who does not know much about the country.
The programme is intended to give listeners a feel of the region. Indian ambassador in each country would speak about important aspects of bilateral relations, like trade ties, people-to-people contact, and the Indian diaspora.
The names of the three winners of the quiz would be announced in the next programme and also announced on AIR's social media network, like Facebook and Twitter.
India 360 would be promoted on Twitter and Facebook daily ahead of the broadcast. After its broadcast, the programme would be uploaded in a special window on the AIR site as well as uploaded on the social media sites.
In order to make the programme more interactive, listeners would be asked to share their experience in that particular country on the social media sites. Photographs of popular places, cuisine, cultural events and festivals of the country are planned to be uploaded on the Facebook site.
(Ranjana Narayan can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)