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Fourth Conference of Heads of Missions – concluding day deliberations

The concluding day of the 4th Heads of Missions conference saw lively discussions on non traditional but nevertheless crucial aspects of foreign policy practice, including Public Diplomacy, role of think tanks and cultural diplomacy. In addition, commercial diplomacy and multilateral negotiations on environmental issues and climate change were also addressed.

Terming India a “Cultural Super Power” Dr Karan Singh, President of ICCR in his address to the Heads of Missions re-emphasized the role and importance of cultural diplomacy and public diplomacy tools in projecting India’s soft power.He also stressed on the message of universalism enshrined in our ancient philosophy of Vedanta. He compared cultural diplomacy to be ‘Saraswati’ which together with the ‘Ganga’ of political diplomacy and the ‘Yamuna’ of economic diplomacy completes the Triveni of India’s diplomatic engagement with the outside world.

He also pointed out the close civilizational links and common roots of culture and language between India and the rest of Asia and observed that Indian culture has the same reasonance in terms of Eastern philiosophy that ancient Greek philosophy had for Europe and the West.

Minister of Commerce, Industry and Textiles Shri Anand Sharma in his address on Economic Diplomacy reiterated the need for strengthening our commercial engagements with emerging economies of Asia, Africa and Latin America and called for embracing the globe through sound trade and investment linkages that are mutually beneficial. He noted that economic engagement has become integral to bilateral and regional relations.

The Minister dwelt at length on Africa’s emergence as an important economic destination and called for firmly reinforcing the historical bonds that exist between India and Africa.

He explained the measures taken by the government to correct the current account and trade deficits and the policy changes that are being pushed to make India a favourable destination for much needed foreign investments. In this context he spoke of the ambitious National Manufacturing Policy, which aims at creating nearly 100 million new jobs and establish over a dozen world class manufacturing zones. He stated that this was an investment being made in the future of our country with the goal of increasing the share of the manufacturing sector in our GDP to levels comparable to that of other emerging economies.

Speaking on the challenges in the field of environmental diplomacy and climate change negotiations, Minister for Environment and Forests, Smt. Jayanti Natarajan said that among the three important debates on sustainability, development and environment, India’s priority is and should remain growth and development. Nevertheless given the fact that there can be no real growth without preserving the integrity of the environemnt, she contended that growth culture and environmental culture should go hand in hand.

On the debate on green economy and green growth, she stated that there cannot be a one size fits all solution and advocated the need to have an independent perspective and asked for working towards an Indian model for green growth.

Emphasising on India’s commitment to tackle Climate Change, she observed that India was the only developing country which has unilaterally committed itself to reduce intensity of green house emissions by 25% by 2020 and has diligently sent its 2nd National Communication to UNFCCC. She also recalled that India was the only developing country that has said its per capita emissions will not exceed those of developed countries.

She reaffirmed commitment to taking forward the Bali agenda at next Conference of Parties at Doha while ensuring the principles of equity and common but differentiated responsibilities.

Summing up the three day conference, Foreign Secretary called on the Heads of Missions to be always ready to take on the multifarious challenges facing us in the rapidly changing global environment.

New Delhi
September 16, 2012

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