MEA launches ‘Sushma Swaraj Lectures’ for foreign diplomats

The inaugural address of the lectures, named in the memory of former External Affairs Minister, was delivered by Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla.

The Ministry of External Affairs, institute of foreign service and the India Foundation on Thursday launched the first edition ‘Sushma Swaraj Lectures’ designed to ‘introduce India’ to foreign diplomats posted here.

Sushma Swaraj (1952 – 2019): A woman of many firsts

The inaugural address of the lectures, named in the memory of former External Affairs Minister Swaraj, was delivered by Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla.

In his address, he sketched the contours of contemporary India around the four Ds — democracy, development, demography and diversity.

He highlighted the seminal contribution of Swaraj towards making diplomacy responsive to the needs of Indian citizens, whether in India or abroad.

The Indian ethos of ‘dharma’ as defined by emperor Ashoka – “do as little harm as possible, do as much good as possible, be compassionate, be charitable, be good and true” permeates India’s approach in dealing with the current COVID-19 pandemic too, Shringla was quoted as saying by a statement issued by the Sushma Swaraj Institute of Foreign Service.

As pharmacy to the world, India has delivered medicines and medical equipment to over 150 countries, he said.

“India has also committed that our vaccine production and delivery capacity would be used for all humanity in fighting the COVID pandemic,” he said.

“In one of the largest repatriation operations ever, we were able to bring home 1.8 million Indians stuck in far-flung corners of the globe under the Vande Bharat Mission,” Mr. Shringla said.

Sushma Swaraj Institute of Foreign Service (SSIFS), Ministry of External Affairs and the India Foundation are organising the ‘Sushma Swaraj Lectures 2020 on Introduction to India’ on October 15-16.

Forty-five foreign diplomats newly arrived to take up their assignments in missions and international organisations in New Delhi are attending the lectures.

The programme includes an introduction to Indian history, polity, culture, and economy, the statement said.

An eminent list of speakers including members of Parliament, senior government officers and intellectuals/ academics will be addressing the participants, the statement said.

The lectures are aimed at sensitising partner countries to the dynamic and complex Indian polity, economy etc.

Meanwhile at an online media briefing, MEA Spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said this is the first time such a lecture series has been designed for foreign diplomats posted in India.

To a separate question on the Libyan peace process, Srivastava said, “We have been closely monitoring the developments in Libya and we have noted the progress in intra Libyan dialogue facilitated by the kingdom of Morocco.

“We welcome these international efforts aimed at peaceful settlement through an intra-Libyan dialogue taking into account the aspirations of the Libyan people, while preserving Libya’s sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity,” he said.

Libya, an oil-rich country in North Africa, has been witnessing large-scale violence and unrest since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi“s four-decade regime in 2011.

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