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Rashtrapati Bhavan : 06.04.2016

Officer Trainees of the Indian Foreign Service (2014 and 2015 batches) called on the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee today (April 6, 2016) at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Speaking on the occasion, the President said Foreign Service Officers are the spokespersons, interpreters and narrators of India’s story to the world.The President recalled how Kautilya advised the king to be careful in appointing envoys. Kautilya said those appointed as Envoys who should not be greedy, foolish or tell lies. They should be knowledgeable.

The President said the foundations of our foreign policy were laid by Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru and is based on our core civilizational values.Our national leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru, Subhash Chandra Bose and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel kept watch over international events and thought about how they should be linked to India’s interests.Foreign policy is an extension of the enlightened self interest of a country in the context of the environment prevailing in foreign countries. The President pointed out that Europe has put aside centuries of conflict and formed a powerful union. In today’s world, ‘Balance of Payments’ and ‘Terms of Trade’ have replaced ‘Balance of Power’ in importance.

Pointing out that he has served as External Affairs Minister twice, President Mukherjee said he enjoyed leading the Ministry of External Affairs. MEA was perhaps his second love after the Finance Ministry, where he served for the longest period of time. He has fond memories of his intellectual interaction with many Foreign Service Officers, for all of whom he has high regard.

He congratulated the Officer Trainees for having chosen this challenging and exciting career. He described Indian Foreign Service Officers as the voice of the country abroad and asked the Officers Trainees to express and explain India’s policies to the outside world. He said their initial years might be difficult. Their family life might be disturbed and they may have to encounter difficult conditions. But, once they settle down, he was confident they will thoroughly enjoy their work and be able representatives of the world’s largest functional democracy as well as a civilization which has guided humanity for centuries.

This release issued at 1735 hrs.