‘Vishwaguru’ Diplomacy to Be Taught in Universities

In an unprecedented exercise organised by the ICCR on March 17-18, the foreign minister and foreign secretary will speak to academics in 40 central universities on the so-called substantive shifts in diplomacy under PM Narendra Modi and how they are likely to have significant implications.

New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government wants the teaching of international relations to reflect changes in India’s foreign policy since 2014. Foreign minister S. Jaishankar, foreign secretary Vinay Kwatra and president of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations Vinay Sahasrabuddhe will speak to heads of international relations departments and professors from over 40 central universities next week.

Bloomberg reports that with this unprecedented move, the Modi government “seeks to align the way international relations are taught with the changes in foreign policy since 2014”.

In a novel exercise organised by the ICCR on March 17-18, the minister and the secretary will speak to academics on the so-called substantive shifts in diplomacy under Modi and how they are likely to have significant implications for Indian diplomacy and the country’s supposedly broadening role in global politics.

Sahasrabuddhe said, “Indian foreign policy has undergone a tremendous transition under PM Modi, which is reflected in the way the country’s position has strengthened in the world. Our voice is now more confident and assertive. The way IR is taught today in our universities needs to reflect that.”

According to the report, minister Jaishankar will speak “on India’s rising power as the voice of the South; the G20; India’s role in groupings such as the Quad; and the country’s increasing influence on global matters”, foreign secretary Kwatra is expected to speak on India’s neighbourhood and Sahasrabuddhe will talk about India’s soft power.

An important part of the BJP’s campaign is centred around how the prime minister has created a forceful foreign policy to raise India to ‘Vishwaguru’ status.

The Modi government has done its best to use the rotational presidency of the G20 to as much advantage domestically as possible. Hoardings and the lotus as the logo (which resembles the BJP’s electoral symbol) have come under fire for suggesting a close alignment with the ruling party’s objectives in an election year. India hosted the G20 foreign ministers to discuss multilateralism reforms, food and energy security, counter-terrorism and other issues. Unlike previously in Bali, there was no joint communique, but India’s establishment had done its best to underplay that and speak instead of collective drives to tackle issues like counter-terrorism.