Government to classify Indian missions under ‘threat perception’

December 22nd, 2008 - 8:26 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 22 (IANS) More than five months after the attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul, the government is planning to classify Indian missions in “different categories depending upon the threat perception” and upgrade their security. In tune with its growing global profile and the vulnerability to terrorism, the Indian government is also set to expand the capacity of the external affairs ministry by creating 514 new posts in a phased manner over the next 10 years.

“We are also working to improve and strengthen the security of our missions abroad so that we can avoid incidents like the terrorist bombing of our mission in Kabul,” External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee told Indian envoys to 116 countries meeting here in the Indian capital.

“The ministry is processing a proposal to classify our missions in different categories depending upon the threat perception and to provide them with requisite number of professionally trained security guards and security equipment,” he said.

Providing a broad overview of challenges facing Indian diplomacy as India plays a leading role in shaping the international system, Mukherjee said: “As a stakeholder in the international system, we need to manage the strategic shifts that are underway to maintain our stability and security and bring prosperity to our people.”

“Traditional approaches must make way for more forward looking approaches of cooperative solutions,” he said while underlining a new thrust for Indian foreign policy to project and secure national interests.

“We should prepare to play a leading role in shaping the emerging world, by preparing long term strategies as an influential and respected member of the international community,” he said.

The three-day conclave is the first-ever meeting of the heads of Indian missions across the world, aimed at briefing the envoys on leading diplomatic challenges like terrorism, energy security, and climate change, in which India is expected to play a major role in the days to come.

However, with the Mumbai terror attacks, the focus of the conclave has shifted to India’s options in dealing with Pakistan in view of Islamabad’s “earlier tendency to resort to a policy of denial and to seek to deflect and shift the blame and responsibility.”

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