India to open missions in Estonia, Paraguay and the Dominican Republic

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar   | Photo Credit: R. V. Moorthy

The government on Wednesday announced that it would open three missions in Estonia, Paraguay and the Dominican Republic in 2021, after a Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi cleared the proposal from the Ministry of External Affairs.

“The opening of the missions will help expand India’s diplomatic footprint, deepen political relations, enable growth of bilateral trade, investment and economic engagements, facilitate stronger people-to-people contacts, bolster political outreach in multilateral fora and help garner support for the foreign policy objectives,” said an official statement, adding that the move would also help the diaspora members residing in these countries.

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said he looked forward to the “early establishment” of the missions. While the government had announced the opening of 18 missions in 2018, not all of them have been established yet, and the opening of the newly announced missions may be further delayed by the impact of the pandemic.

Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu welcomed the decision saying it would strengthen ties in trade and cybersecurity in particular. “We will also serve together in the Security Council next year,” Mr. Reinsalu tweeted. Former Estonian Ambassador to India Viljar Lubji, who is now the Business Development Secretary in the Ministry of Economy, said the decision had been awaited since 2013, when Estonia set up its embassy in Delhi, while India has dealt with it through its embassy in neighbouring Finland. “Every relationship requires commitment and continuous work, and embassies play a key part. Without them, relationships remain a bit hectic,” he told The Hindu.

Both Paraguay and the Dominican Republic had set up missions in Delhi in 2006. Outgoing Ambassador from the Dominican Republic Frank Castellanos, who set up the mission 14 years ago and is the longest serving foreign diplomat in Delhi, has repeatedly spoken of the need for more Indian missions in Latin America.

“This will undoubtedly strengthen and deepen our bonds. Great news,” wrote Foreign Minister of the Dominican Republic Roberto Alvarez, thanking Mr. Jaishankar for the news.

“The decision to open these three missions is a forward-looking step in pursuit of our national priority of growth and development or ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’. Enhancement of India’s diplomatic presence will provide market access for companies and bolster exports of goods and services,” the official statement released after the Cabinet meeting stated.

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Printable version | Mar 2, 2021 3:52:26 AM |

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