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Social media has helped showcase NRIs' hard work: Indian ambassador

Sarwat Nasir/Dubai
Filed on April 8, 2017 | Last updated on April 9, 2017 at 12.09 pm
Social media has helped showcase NRIs hard work: Indian ambassador
Navdeep Singh Suri, Ambassador of India to UAE, felicitated by Naveen ND Gupta VP of ICAI India in the presence of Punkaj Mundra Chairman of ICAI Dubai during the 35th Annual ICAI conference in Dubai on April 8.

(Neeraj Murali)

Social media helps diplomats share the work they are doing in the country

Non-resident Indians (NRIs) used to be looked at with skepticism once upon a time, but today India embraces their success, Ambassador of India to UAE Navdeep Singh Suri has said.

Speaking at the 35th conference of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India - Dubai Chapter, Suri said the changing mindsets of diplomats and increasing social media use have aided in showcasing the hard work of NRIs and of diplomatic missions.

Suri told the audience at the conference that social media helps diplomats share the work they are doing in the country.

"India ... has 25 million expats spread across the globe, many in positions of considerable power and influence. And if you see the evolution of the past 10 years, we were the only country around the world to do something like this (using social media), but look at the objective behind it. It is a diplomatic objective," Suri said.

"You all are the strength of India and we will continue to work on this. Look at how we've travelled in this area, from a point where NRIs who went overseas were seen at a degree of condescension, today, it's at a position where we embrace their success. So looking at the future, Mahatma Ghandi famously said that the future depends on what you do today."

Suri recalled the days when he started using social media to convey the messages of diplomatic missions. He said people were confused as to why governments needed to be on social media.

"There is a whole area of digital diplomacy, new terms and new engagements. When I was very closely involved at the Ministry of External Affairs, questions were asked, such as 'why does the Ministry of External Affairs need to be on social media', and my answer used to be that we are dealing with an extremely sceptical public.

"The public doesn't really know what we do and what our role is. It is incumbent upon us to communicate what we do. It's about changing our own mindsets ... We have to communicate what it is that we do, for example, our visits to prisons to interact with Indians who are in distress or repatriate people back to India who have fallen in hard times and so much else that the work of a diplomatic mission involves, not just high policy, but little things that matter to public.

"That's a changing paradigm of diplomacy and if you don't do that, we will find ourselves on the wrong side of public opinion. I think there's no better example than of our minister (of external affairs) Sushma Swaraj and what she's been able to do, in terms of conveying empathy towards the Indian community."

sarwat@khaleejtimes.com


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