UK to raise diplomatic presence in India

Britain will post 30 more diplomats in India, said William Hague.

Updated: May 12, 2011, 00:42 AM IST

London: Britain has outlined plans to
enhance its diplomatic presence in India by posting 30 more
diplomats as part what foreign secretary William Hague calls
`the biggest diplomatic advance by Britain in decades`.

Cutting staff and funding for Britain`s embassies in
Europe and deploying additional resources in India and China
are among plans outlined by Hague to diplomats and staff of
the Foreign Office yesterday.

The Foreign Office has already announced that the
current High Commissioner to India Richard Stagg, will be
replaced by James Bevan in November.

Hague`s plans include opening five new embassies in
countries including El Salvador, Kyrgyzstan and South Sudan,
as well as new offices in Brazil, Mexico, Turkey and
Indonesia.

Hague said: "As foreign secretary I announced on day
one that my objective is to ensure that there is no strategic
shrinkage of Britain`s influence under this government. Our
diplomatic network is the essential infrastructure for our
foreign policy and our influence overseas".

He told Foreign Office staff: "By 2015 we must aim to
be a Foreign Office that is lean and efficient but configured
to match the realities of the 21st century. Taken together,
this represents the biggest strategic diplomatic advance by
Britain in decades."
Hague is scheduled to outline the changes in a
statement in the House of Commons later today.

PTI