This refers to the article, “A new foreign policy agenda” (April 8). A new foreign policy vision for India in the present century, which revolves around Asia, is the need of the hour. Overhauling and restructuring the Foreign Office is essential to provide direction to this policy. The BJP’s manifesto has some interesting ideas which may work in this plan. Establishing some kind of a regular consultative mechanism, which provides for drawing upon the experience of experts in the field of international relations, military affairs, intelligence and security, trade and commerce and tourism and culture will greatly help evolve novel ideas and insights.
India’s image in the global arena is that of a soft power which submits meekly to diplomatic pressure. Reforms need to be introduced in human resources. Specialists as consultants must be recruited in the MEA to enhance its profile and to further India’s image and reach. Think tanks need to be fostered and given importance in decision-making. As External Affairs is one ministry that can do well without domestic political intrigue, it should be singularly guided by the ethos of what is best for the country as a whole and not by what is best for one part of the country.
Kesav Sundar Patnaik,