Tharoor plans to revive MEA's foreign policy planning

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    Tharoor plans to revive MEA's foreign policy planning

    Indrani Bagchi, TNN 21 September 2009, 03:27am IST


    NEW DELHI: Shashi Tharoor, the most visible political face in the foreign ministry, wants to get down to the business of shaping the way India crafts its foreign policy. After getting a nod from foreign minister S M Krishna and foreign secretary Nirupama Rao, Tharoor is all set to overhaul what was hitherto a decrepit, virtually defunct, part of the ministry of external affairs.

    The policy planning division is an important section in most foreign policy establishments in the world. In the US state department, the policy planning guys are the forward thinking strategists. Not in the MEA, where the policy planning division is tucked away in the corner where the light of day rarely penetrates.

    Policy here is crafted by powerful territorial divisions. Traditionally, they’ve been led by MEA’s best and brightest joint secretaries, who have the luxury of looking at a country not merely through the lens of bilateral ties but trying to fit the pieces and Indian policies within its larger regional and strategic context.

    Tharoor has argued that there was a growing part of India’s foreign policy that straddled several territorial divisions. Like India’s policies in the Indian Ocean, climate change etc, issues that were global in scope and should be so in treatment.

    At the first meeting for this new initiative, which he plans to chair towards the end of this month, Tharoor will hold up the example of the IORARC, a grouping that should showcase India’s interests in the Indian Ocean Rim but has basically been allowed to lapse. The MEA is notoriously averse to change. But India’s foreign policy imperatives are evolving, and so, argues Tharoor, should the MEA.

    Tharoor plans to revive MEA's policy planning - India - NEWS - The Times of India

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