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`Parliamentary diplomacy key element in foreign policy`

Last Updated: Sunday, November 15, 2009 - 23:18

New York: Hailing parliamentary diplomacy
as a critical supplement and complement to foreign policy
initiatives, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar on Sunday said visits
and exchanges among Parliamentarians of various country could
contribute positively towards upholding values and ideals of
democracy globally.

Kumar, who was delivering a lecture at the New India
House here, said Parliamentary Diplomacy became a formative
part of India`s foreign policy from the Nehru era, with
inclusive global engagement through the Commonwealth and
Non-Alignment Movements.

Kumar is in the US to attend the second meeting of
Preparatory Committee of the Third World Conference of
Speakers of Parliament organised by Inter-Parliamentary Union.

"I may say that in times to come, the inter-dependence
of the world will impel Parliamentary diplomacy to play a
critical role in supplementing and complementing the efforts
of the executive in the foreign policy arena," she told
members of the diplomatic corps, journalists, academics,
professionals and members of the Indian community here.

The lecture was third in the `Distinguished Lecture
Series` organised by the New York-based Consulate General of

Kumar said parliamentary diplomacy could take
place broadly at two levels –- at the multilateral level at
the Inter-Parliamentary Conferences like the IPU and the
Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CWPA) and at the
bilateral level, when exchange of Parliamentary delegations
took place.

The Speaker pointed out that the IPU is one of the
world`s oldest international organisations formed even prior
to the formation of the United Nations.

"The IPU, within the contours and parameters of its
constitution and objective, offers great scope to the
Parliamentarians to highlight global challenges facing the
world," she said, adding that for many years, the IPU had
carried out its peace-mission in a strife-ridden world.

Vouching for the great potential of the IPU, she
said it was a platform to promote and facilitate Parliamentary
diplomacy, both multilaterally and bilaterally.

On CWPA, Kumar said it provided useful platform
through its conferences, seminars and workshops not only to
advance the values and ideals of Parliamentary democracy, but
also share mutual experience and ideas among member countries.

She said the SAARC Speakers and Parliamentarians too
contributed to mutual trust, understanding and appreciation of
one another’s problems; promoted active collaboration and
mutual assistance in the economic, social, cultural, technical
and scientific fields; and strengthened cooperation among
themselves on international fora on matters of common

At the bilateral level, Kumar pointed out that the
exchange of parliamentary delegations was an important medium
to facilitate parliamentary diplomacy.

"These visits enhance ties with other countries and
facilitate sharing of ideas and experiences," she added.

Noting that besides exchange of Parliamentary
delegations, most Parliaments, including Indian Parliament,
now had formed Friendship Groups, she said India had 67 such
groups at present.

"All these institutional mechanisms, customs and
conventions have been found to be immensely useful tools of
Parliamentary diplomacy," she added.

Lok Sabha Secretary General P D T Achary was present
on the occasion along with US Senator Loretta Weinberg and New
Jersey Assembly member Linda Greenstein.

Bureau Report

First Published: Sunday, November 15, 2009 - 23:18
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