Modi govt resorts to ‘breakfast diplomacy’ to build bridges

One of the breakfast briefings held earlier.

The NDA government has joined hands with the India Foundation and launched a new initiative called “Breakfast Briefings”. The menu: Crisp and effective communication with embassies of prominent countries. 

Kumar Anshuman

Foreign policy and diplomatic engagement are top items on the agenda of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s NDA government and the establishment has come up with a unique model to engage with the outside world.

The new initiative, launched in collaboration with the India Foundation in February, involves organising special events to engage with prominent countries through their diplomatic missions in New Delhi.

The events, which are called ‘Breakfast Briefings’, entail a talk by a senior government minister or official for an audience of ambassadors, high commissioners and other diplomats. After an initial presentation by the government representative, the floor is open for questions and answers.

The sessions start at 8.30 am and last for a little over an hour.

“The sessions are quite informative and give us a chance to understand the functioning and planning of the Indian government,” said one senior diplomat with the embassy of an Asian country.

The India Foundation, with its office on Hailey Road in central Delhi, has come up as a leading advocate of government policies, with an aim to ensure crisp and effective communication with diplomats based in the Indian capital.

“Usually the embassies gather information from informal sources in the media and society,” said a source in the India Foundation. “The idea is to offer them a formal source of information which not only briefs them about what’s going on, but also explain the government’s stand on it.”

The series started with a session with Nirmala Sitharaman, Commerce & Industry minister, who also happens to be on the board of directors of the India Foundation. In a later edition, Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad talked about triple talaq.

Sources in the government say that six such sessions have taken place so far. Scientific advisor to the Defence minister, G. Satish Reddy, Chief Economic Advisor Arvind Subramanian, Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia and Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar are among the others who have taken part in these briefings.

Earlier this month, Adhia was invited to speak on GST, its implementation and benefits for the country and the world.  The latest session was addressed by S. Jaishankar, who talked about the Prime Minister’s visits to Israel and the US.

“There is no designated date for the briefings as it depends on what is going on in the country and what is making news,” said one of the organisers.

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