Indian envoys’ meet: Cyber security, Arab Spring on agenda

September 13th, 2012 - 6:48 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan Singh New Delhi, Sep 13 (IANS) Against the backdrop of new threats like cyber security and the shifting contours of global geopolitics, around 120 envoys from Indian missions abroad will kick off a three-day conference here Friday that will focus on key diplomatic and strategic challenges facing India.

The conference will brainstorm on various issues and challenges that confront India’s foreign policy, external affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin told reporters here Thursday.

External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna will inaugurate the conference. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will also speak at the conference and is expected to share his views of India’s place in a shifting world order and key issues facing the country’s diplomatic-strategic establishment as it seeks a bigger role on the world stage.

The conference will discuss an entire gamut of foreign policy issues that include the UN reforms, counter-terrorism, nuclear proliferation, India’s relations with neighbouring countries, the situation in West Asia, India-China relations and India-Pakistan relations.

The spokesperson said the envoys will also look at new challenges in areas of cyber security, public diplomacy and cultural diplomacy.

Issues like the Arab Spring and its implications for Indian and the eurozone recession will also figure in the discussions, he said.

The democratic churning in the North Africa and West Asia region that saw the toppling of long-entrenched authoritarian regimes in some of the countries there has posed fresh challenges for India’s foreign policy.

The West Asia region is critical to India’s national interests as it supplies over 60 percent of India’s oil imports and is home to over six million Indians who send over $50 billion in annual remittances back home.

The envoys’ conference will also factor in insights and inputs generated during the six regional conference of Indian heads of missions held in different parts of the world. These conferences, chaired by Krishna, have been held in Singapore (ASEAN region), Cairo (North Africa), Abu Dhabi (West Asia), Madrid (Europe), Dushanbe (Central Asia) and Havana (Latin America).

The envoys’ conference is part of the government’s strategy to make Indian diplomacy more people-centric and to refurbish it to handle contemporary challenges that enables India to play a proactive role in the international arena and realise its aspiration for a permanent seat in the UN Security Council.

Besides Manmohan Singh and Krishna, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and Petroleum Minister S. Jaipal Reddy will be among those who will address the assembled Indian envoys.

The envoys will also call on President Pranab Mukherjee.

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