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Diplomatic Insights: Unpacking The World Of Foreign Policy

Diplomatic Insights: Unpacking the World of Foreign Policy

Session Report

Reet Lath

An Immersive Online Certificate Training Course on ‘Diplomacy and Foreign Policy’ was organized by the Centre for International Relations and Strategic Studies, IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi from 1st November, 2023 to 23rd November, 2023. This discussion was part of the #WebPolicyLearning Series.

The chair for the program was Professor Swaran Singh, Professor and Chairperson, Centre for International Politics, Organization and Disarmament (CIPOD), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi.

Professor Swaran Singh delivers an informative and insightful speech on day 1, that covers various aspects of diplomacy and foreign policy, emphasizing their relevance in today’s interconnected world.

Defining Diplomacy and Foreign Policy Professor

Singh began by addressing the common confusion between the terms “diplomacy” and “foreign policy.” He pointed out that these terms are often used interchangeably, even by influential figures like Dr. Henry Kissinger. However, he clarified the distinction by stating that diplomacy is a profession dealing with political issues, while foreign policy is concerned with international relations, aiming to maintain peace and security.

Navigating the Interconnected World: The Role of Diplomacy

The speaker proceeded to discuss the growing interconnectedness of individuals, groups, communities, and nations, driven by the integration of modern technologies into daily life. This phenomenon accelerates the speed of global governance and decision-making, underscoring the significance of understanding the relationships between nations.

As the presentation progressed, it explored the concept of foreign policy and its role in shaping external environments. It underscores that different nations have distinct interests and priorities that guide their actions, influenced by factors like geographical location. The tools of foreign policy, including diplomacy and economic sanctions, are introduced as means to achieve these objectives. Diplomacy, primarily involving dialogue and negotiation, is seen as essential for compliance and conΟict resolution.

Diplomatic Relations and Recognition

The speaker touched on the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, signed in 1963, and the crucial rules and guidelines it established for the operations and communication of diplomats. This convention recognized the concept of diplomatic immunity, explaining that diplomats are exempt from prosecution, detention, taxation, and property confiscation in their host countries. The most severe action a host country can take is declaring a diplomat persona non grata, resulting in their expulsion. The importance of understanding diplomatic immunity is exemplified with real-world cases, such as India’s withdrawal of diplomatic immunity from Canadian diplomats in 2020 and China’s declaration of Brad Pitt as persona non grata in 1997.

The speaker also delved into the significance of diplomatic recognition between nations in international relations, emphasizing that the absence of recognition can hinder a country’s citizens in their daily lives. He introduced the concept of cultural relations and public diplomacy as essential components for national leaders to explain their decisions and actions to their citizens and the public. Summit diplomacy, where national leaders frequently meet to make decisions, was presented as a potent force, leading to the rise of public diplomacy as a means of engaging local populations and conveying a country’s policies.

In the final segment, the speaker discussed stakeholders in diplomacy and their role in helping India achieve its goals. Soft power is employed, and diplomacy plays a crucial part in advancing India through cultural, historical, and diplomatic initiatives. The talk also addressed paradigmatic diplomacy and the inΟuential role played by central and state governments in shaping India’s national diplomacy.


In summary, the online course on ‘Diplomacy and Foreign Policy’ by Professor Swaran Singh offered valuable insights into these subjects, clarifying their distinctions and emphasizing their relevance in today’s interconnected world. The course also explored diplomatic relations, recognition, and the role of various stakeholders in shaping India’s diplomacy. It provided a comprehensive understanding of these topics, equipping participants with a deeper knowledge of global affairs.

Acknowledgment : Reet Lath is a research intern at IMPRI

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