Pranab heads on public diplomacy trip to Shillong


New Delhi : Ahead of his visit to Indonesia and Singapore, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee will go on a day-long trip to Meghalaya Saturday to engage in some spirited public diplomacy and underline benefits of India's "Look East" policy for people of the region.

Support TwoCircles

In Shillong, he will deliver a lecture entitled "Geography as Opportunity" and underline the geographical contiguity of the northeast with the ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) countries, external affairs ministry spokesperson Navtej Sarna told reporters here.

Mukherjee's trip to Shillong is part of the external affairs ministry's public diplomacy drive and is aimed at explaining to the people the impact of foreign policy initiatives on the lives of people on the region.

It will create a greater sense of awareness and participation among people and gives the government valuable inputs in formulating its policies, Sarna stressed.

Mukherjee leaves Sunday for Jakarta where he will co-chair a meeting of the India-Indonesia Joint Commission with his counterpart Nur Hassan Wirajuda and discuss a wide range of bilateral and regional issues, including security of the Malacca Straits.

The minister will head from Jakarta to Singapore where he will deliver prestigious Distinguished Public Lecture Wednesday on 'India's Foreign Policy Priorities,' which has been organised by the Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS) and the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies

India's multi-faceted ties with the economically vibrant ASEAN region are growing steadily across a diverse spectrum of areas, including trade, energy, security and culture. At the ASEAN summit in the Philippines in January this year, India and the ASEAN decided to step up negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to multiply bilateral trade, which is currently estimated to be $23 billion.

India also participated in the East Asia Summit – an informal grouping aimed at creating a broader East Asia community comprising 10 ASEAN members, China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand.