India needs more foreign policy experts: Omprakash Mishra

August 12th, 2011 - 5:48 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 12 (IANS) India needs hundreds of new foreign policy scholars and experts to tackle the challenges of the current global situation, says eminent foreign policy expert and secretary of the Kolkata-based Global India Foundation (GIF) Omprakash Mishra.

“During the past 60 years, India has produced only around 7,000 scholars in international relations. It is too insufficient for a country of 1.2 billion people which is striving to have a major role in the new global order,” Mishra told IANS here.

Besides the old study centres at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University and Kolkata’s Jadavpur University, two new centres have come up in the southern states of Kerala and Puducherry, he noted, adding: “But that is not enough for a big country like India.”

The discourse on foreign policy “should be spread through the country” and not limited to Delhi, said Mishra, whose GIF organised a national conference on ‘India’s Engagement with the Global Order” here recently.

Mishra felt that “civil society and ordinary citizens should come under the ambit of foreign policy” framework.

Besides the South Block (the office housing external affairs ministry in New Delhi), think tanks and research institutes across the country should have a role in policy formation, he said. “External affairs discourse should expand beyond New Dehi and South Block,” he said.

“But the government should not control the think tanks and they should be given academic and functional freedom like abroad,” he stressed.

The ‘think tanks should supplement and complement the government thinking’ and research resources, said Mishra, who is a former vice chancellor of the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), New Delhi, and currently a professor of international relations at the Jadavpur University.

If India wants to strengthen its case for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council, it should be prepared to shoulder new responsibilities, he said

“If India wants to be a global power, it should be a global player,” Mishra said, pointing out that the country’s diplomatic activities are not seen in some regions and several fields of global diplomacy.

Last week, the GIF organised the first K. Subrahmanyam memorial lecture in New Delhi, which was delivered by former national security advisor (NSA) Brajesh Mishra.

According to Brajesh Mishra, India was not a “player in the current global order” as the government lacked innovative action.

Subrahmanyam, India’s eminent strategic thinker, died Feb 2 this year.

The lecture, which was presided over by West Bengal Governor M.K. Narayanan — another former NSA — was attended by several diplomats inlcluding Arundhati Ghose, India’s former envoy to the United Nations Conference on Disarmament.

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