Thursday, December 3, 2009

It's B-school time for Indian ambassadors

Guess who is getting lessons from the premier Indian School of Business (ISB)? Indian ambassadors who are learning "economic diplomacy" to promote their country abroad.

With the country growing as a global power, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has roped in the ISB to teach the top diplomats how to promote "brand India" in the countries where they are posted.

"We have already trained 30-35 ambassadors, high commissioners and other top officials under the Indian Foreign Service after being contacted by the external affairs ministry," Deepak Chandra, associate dean of the ISB, told IANS.

"We will train another batch of such top officials next month. This time also the number will be 30 or more. What they are learning in short is economic diplomacy," said Chandra, who was in Delhi on an official visit.

ISB, a premier management school based in Hyderabad, was contacted by the MEA earlier this year.

"India is a growing global power. The economic interest of the country is growing. What these officials are learning is contextualising Indian interest in their country of posting," Chandra said.

"By aligning the economic situation of their posted country with that of India's need, they can help the country's brand image," he said, adding that qualified and capable people are key to promoting brand India across the world.

Chandra said among other things the envoys have been taught about India's future and its relationship with countries vis-a-vis economic growth. "Let me give one example, we have taught them India-China relations from this perspective."

"As educationists, we now understand that they (government) have recognised they need such kind of education. This is a great move forward."

The authorities said while the already completed course was for a duration of two weeks, the upcoming batch would study for around 10 days next month. However, they did not divulge the details of the course fee or the countries where these top officials are posted.

"These are part of our agreement with the government and details cannot be given," Chandra added.

Besides these foreign service officials, the central government has engaged the ISB for training Indian Police Service (IPS) officials too.

"We are working with IPS officials at three levels - probation level, superintendent level with around 10 years of experience and at the additional director general of police level. So far we have trained over 100 such officials in total," said Chandra, who is also a member of the ISB's management council.
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