New Delhi: The speaker of a House is not only the custodian of rights and privileges of the people of the nation but also has the added role of representing the country's policies at international fora, President Pranab Mukherjee said here on Thursday.
"The role of the Speaker is not only to control the House but also to represent Indian foreign policies... At various forums and during bilateral visits," Mukherjee said as he was presented by Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan with the first copy of the book, 'Indian Parliamentary Diplomacy: Speaker's Perspective', penned by the House's first woman Speaker, Meira Kumar.
Congratulating the former Speaker for bringing out the book, Mukherjee said that each of us can learn a number of lessons from the observations made by her in the work.
The book, which touches on 30 international issues which the world is facing today, is divided into seven broad chapters and talks about International Peace and Security, Economic Cooperation, Good Governance and more.
"When I was the Speaker of (Lok Sabha) it was my constant endeavour to ensure that the image of Parliament should be enhanced; cooperation and relationships should be carried forward and the country's policies should be put forth with strong conviction," said Kumar.
The book is an account of the role of parliamentary diplomacy in furthering foreign policy and strengthening international relations. The volume is a collection of reports and select speeches that Kumar delivered as the Lok Sabha Speaker and leader of Indian parliamentary delegations at international conferences and on her visits abroad.
"While we are in the Session, controlling the House, people just see the tip of the iceberg but, post the House, we have various duties to fulfil to represent our nation at international fora. This book gives us an insight about the true role of a Speaker," said Mahajan.
"Office of the Speaker is very crucial. The Speaker is the custodian of the rights, privileges and performance of the representatives of people in the Parliament who represent the spirit and aspirations of the vast multitude of people of the country," said Mukherjee.
Kumar said that, while writing the book, she had spoken with various Speakers of Houses across the world on how to control the House and says that only one man had the answer to the question.
"He was the speaker of Tong, an island country in the Pacific region. He was an international boxer, which says it all. I thought I would do the sweet diplomacy with my members and realised that the President likes rasagulla, (LK) Advaniji likes Kheer. So, the sweet diplomacy helped me in various ways," said Kumar.
The launch was attended by a number of celebrities, social activists and political personalities like BJP leader LK Advani, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor and former Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde. The book will be available at the Parliament House reception and Parliament House Museum.