Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the present global environment represents a rare opportunity, when the world was keen to embrace India, and India was moving forward with confidence.
Addressing over 100 heads of Indian missions from across the world, Modi urged them to use this unique opportunity to help India position itself in a leading role, rather than just a balancing force, globally.
Urging them to shed old mindsets, the prime minister said they should be quick to adapt to changing global situations.
Emphasising the role of “heads of missions” in projecting India to the world, Modi described them as “shining vibrant representatives” (tejasvi, jeevant anshpunj) of India’s glorious heritage.
He urged them to work ceaselessly and with a clear mind, on India’s development priorities, and to advance India’s interests abroad.
Speaking of conflicts in the 21st century, the prime minister said there were new “actors” and new “threats” to global peace and prosperity, and that India, which always stood for “vishva-bandhutva” and peace – the brotherhood of the world – had a great responsibility in helping the world counter these challenges to peace.
On the challenge of climate change, the prime minister said protecting the environment was part of India’s cultural heritage, and therefore, India must take the lead in countering this challenge, and also work towards a change in global attitudes towards the challenges of climate change.
He credited the Indian diplomatic community for their success in the International Day of Yoga being adopted by the UN in record time, with a record number of co-sponsors.
He said yoga should be projected as a possible solution to common everyday problems of people across the world, including stress management.
He said the NITI Aayog has recognised the Indian diaspora as a great strength of the nation, and heads of missions must come up with innovative ways to positively build upon this strength.
Modi called for preparing a compendium of best practices of the missions across the world, and spreading them horizontally.
He called upon the missions to contribute towards developing a culture for “Swachhta” – cleanliness – and to remain ahead of the curve on digital diplomacy.
He urged the missions to maintain digital libraries showcasing the best of Indian culture, and maintaining regular contact with prominent individuals from countries abroad, who visited or planned to visit India.
He said relationships have been important for all mankind throughout history, even as humanity has struggled to deal with challenges.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh, and Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar were present on the occasion.
Earlier, the prime minister and the ministers paid homage to those who laid down their lives pursuing India’s interests abroad at a memorial “Transformation” unveiled at Jawaharlal Nehru Bhavan.