NEW DELHI: President Ram Nath Kovind said on Saturday that there were tectonic shifts taking place around the world in the realm of geopolitics and geoeconomics, and managing India's rise in such an environment is not an easy task.
Addressing the participants of the annual Heads of Missions Conference who had called on him at Rashtrapati Bhavan, Kovind said the diplomats don't just represent the Indian state and the government of India but 1.3 billion Indians and their hopes and aspirations.
"There are tectonic shifts taking place in the world, and not just in the realm of geopolitics and geoeconomics. Technology, communication, and societal mores are also changing rapidly. Terrorism and non-conventional threats pose a constant challenge to our security. To manage India's rise in such an environment is not an easy task. You have to be a master at strategic thinking, nimble-footed action and be able to quickly adapt to change," he said.
The President said that the government has a clear and well-marked approach to diplomacy today and the litmus test of the country's engagement with the external world is "what we are able to do to propel domestic growth and development".
"Our diplomats are doing well on this account. And as they do so, there is an expectation for much more, especially when the country aspires for transformational change," he said.
The President said that the Indian growth story and the government's flagship programmes including Make in India, Digital India, Skill India, Smart Cities or Start-up India, have a multi-layered connect with the external world. "As diplomats, it is part of their mandate to secure new investments, scout for appropriate technologies, create markets for Make-in-India products and bring the best of business practices to India."
The President said that engaging different states of India are a vital part of diplomacy today. He stated that he sees the real value of "twinning arrangements" in promoting people-to-people relations between our states and diaspora countries. "Today, there are higher expectations from us as a country from our citizens living outside."
Complimenting External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, he said she has given a new confidence to Indians abroad in the ability of the government to reach out to them when in need. "Our Missions and our ambassadors are seen as responsive to public needs, always ready to give a helping hand to our citizens and to members of the Indian diaspora. Our E-Visa scheme has come in for praise," he said.
He said Indian diplomats represent a society that in its essence is a force for good and for stability in an unpredictable world.
"Do remember that you don't just represent the Indian state and the government of India. You represent 1.3 billion Indians, and their hopes and aspirations. You represent our diverse and plural culture, you represent the richness of our 5,000-year-old civilization and you represent a society that in its essence is a force for good and for stability in an unpredictable world.
"All this places the great responsibility upon each one of you. I am confident you will continue to fulfill that responsibility, as you always have, as professional diplomats and as selfless servants of India," he said.