The diplomatic meet called by the Indian government with all its top diplomats around the world has three objectives. According to a senior government official in the know, the purpose is not just to brief diplomats about their strategies in their parleys with their host countries but also an act of public diplomacy in terms of symbolism.
“This sort of meet is fairly unusual. So the first objective of the exercise is to send a message by calling in all our top diplomats. This calling of this meet is by itself a message to Pakistan as to how serious we are about having them act against terrorism,” said the official, adding, “One doesn’t have to necessarily call diplomats in to explain everything to them. They’re all intelligent people. We want their feedback and we want to send a message by calling them all in.”
But the main message being given to diplomats is twofold. “Firstly, we want our diplomats to be on the same page and practice effective diplomacy with their host governments. This is important, because if at some point the issue is discussed and debated at the world stage at the United Nations, it will be important to have the ensured support of as many countries as possible. So all actions and stands of the Indian government have to be effectively rationalised to the host governments of these diplomats. We have to make sure they understand that India has gone the entire distance diplomatically, even if it’s about repeatedly responding to Pakistan’s calls for evidence,” he says.
“We also want to prepare our diplomats for what is next. If the government is pushed towards some kind of military action, our diplomats are also being briefed on the best way to convey India’s stand so that countries around the world understand why India has been forced to take this step,” he adds.
The government is also interested in a discussion with India’s diplomats on how the situation is being perceived by countries around the world.
“See this becomes important, because we’re at a crucial time and we need to carefully nuance our diplomacy so that nobody can accuse us later of having overreacted or having acted immaturely. So whatever happens in future, we will have taken the right steps, diplomatically and prevented any support from drifting towards Pakistan,” he clarifies, adding, “There is already public sympathy for Pakistan in the Middle East. Pakistan is being seen as a victim of terror as well as a victim of US actions in the region. And people there are beginning to believe the conspiracy theories regarding joint US-Israeli-Indian action. So it is very important for India to look for support from governments around the world and especially, try and get Middle Eastern governments to understand India’s stance and compulsions.”