Prime Minister Narendra Modi Thursday asked young diplomats from the 2012 batch of the Indian Foreign Service to not get swayed by the razzmatazz of developed countries — where they will be posted soon — and instead project the strengths of their “motherland”.
The Indian Express has learnt that Modi, who interacted with the diplomats in Hindi, made his point using the adage, “Apni ma phate purane kapron mein bhi ho toh bhi ma hoti hai… aur mausi agar acchhe kapron mein ho toh bhi mausi hi rehti hai (your mother will remain your mother even if she is in old, torn clothes… your aunt will always be your aunt even if she is well-dressed).
“You should be proud of your country… go overseas and highlight the good things… there are bad things which, instead of criticising them, you should try to rectify,” he told the batch of 36 IFS officers, the largest so far. The batch, which includes 16 women — an all-time high — has people from 19 states.
He said diplomats should concentrate on substantive issues instead of focusing on protocol. “Chammach kahan rakhna hai… in sab baaton se hatke… aapko Bharat ke saath trade aur sambandon ke baare mein kaam karna hoga (Instead of focusing on where to keep spoons, you should focus on trade and other aspects),” he is learnt to have said.
Kiran Bedi tried to establish her credentials as a secular, pro-women candidate.