MEA mulls comic book series on foreign ties in local languages

GUWAHATI, JUL 17 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 7/18/2018 12:31:00 AM IST
Ministry of external affairs (MEA) is contemplating bringing out a comic book series in local languages on India’s relations with neighbouring countries to enable people to understand the connect established through various diplomatic initiatives.
“We are considering the prospect of bringing out such a comic book series in local languages for the common people to understand our diplomatic initiatives better,” Raveesh Kumar, official spokesperson and joint secretary (external publicity), MEA, said at the ministry’s engagement with the regional media here on Tuesday.
“Besides, under SAMEEP (Students and MEA Engagement Programme), we are also encouraging officers to visit the schools they once studied in and make presentations on the initiatives taken by the ministry so that a connect is established with students,” Kumar said.
As it is, the MEA in its efforts to shed the “elitist tag” associated with it, is reaching out to the grassroots for a strong connect with the common people, and more importantly, bring foreign policy closer to the ground.
“The efforts to bring the domain of foreign policy closer to the ground are being carried out through Videsh Aaya Pradesh ke Dwaar, which is a part of the enhanced public diplomacy outreach to take the objectives of India’s foreign policy to common people,” Kumar said.
He said that with so many newspapers in the country, and large chunk of it in the regional medium, there is a lot of space for the MEA to engage.
This is the MEA’s second engagement with the regional media organisations after it launched the first-of-its-kind initiative in Hyderabad in March this year.
“With Guwahati being the gateway to the Northeast, we thought that the city was the ideal destination for the second engagement with the regional media. The region is very important as it shares borders with many nations for which we have continuously sought inputs from political leaders for policy formulation,” Kumar said.
The ministry, through direct interaction with the local media, seeks to communicate foreign policy priorities in simple terms, highlight the benefits accruing to the common people through diplomatic efforts and bring the domain of foreign policy closer to people.
“We want to take the initiatives of the government of India to the people. Besides, as part of the Act East Policy announced by the government, our focus is on Assam and Northeast, which is why we have embolden the engagement process,” Madhumita Hazarika Bhagat, joint secretary, MEA and national coordinator, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, said.
“We want to project the region’s concerns through diplomatic ventures and also boost cooperation with ASEAN in regard to several ongoing projects so that the Northeast benefits. Through our relations with China, we can share meteorological data on the Brahmaputra river which will provide useful information on agriculture, weather, etc,” Bhagat said.
Besides, through foreign policy, she said, we also endeavour to improve connectivity between Northeast and the rest of India and the world.
“Here, I would like to inform you that Druk Air is planning to include Guwahati in the Paro-Singapore route. The airline is working on it,” Bhagat said.
She also said that the initiative aims to create a pool of media professionals interested in foreign policy and guide them in connecting with the MEA. “More people from the Northeast also should join foreign service,” she said.
A general presentation on MEA, its organogram, functioning, simplification of the passport application process and digital initiatives, was also made.

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