PPFA insists on India’s diplomatic preferences in Commonwealth nations

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Guwahati: Reacting to a viral social media post insisting on India’s

diplomatic liberty out of the Commonwealth of Nations, Patriotic

People’s Front Assam (PPFA) bats for appointing ambassadors (instead

of high commissioners) in most of the 53 Commonwealth countries, so

that the Union Government in New Delhi can pursue diplomatic

relationships with these nations without any prejudice.

One can observe from the list of ambassadors/high commissioners (of

India) in various Commonwealth countries across the world that there

is no Indian ambassador (but high commissioners). The question that

arises is, why New Delhi is not interested to appoint ambassadors in

neighbouring Bangladesh, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka along with

Asian nations like Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore.

Because of reasons unknown to the people of India, New Delhi is yet to

appoint any ambassador in Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius,

Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South

Africa, Uganda, Zambia, etc.  Similarly, India has only high

commissioners in Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea,

Solomon Islands, Canada, Dominica, Jamaica, Cyprus, Malta, United

Kingdom, etc.

By the recognised definition, an ambassador serves as primary means of

confidential communication with other governments. In fact, the

ambassador is the highest-ranking diplomatic representative of a

particular country in another nation-state. The host country typically

allows the ambassador control of a specific territory called an

embassy, whose territory, staff, and vehicles are generally afforded

diplomatic immunity in that country.

Responsibilities of an ambassador, who is the head of an embassy,

include primarily to protect the citizens of his/her home country in

the host country. When two nations make a deal, it is usually

advantageous to both the countries to have ambassadors along with a

group of staff.

On the other hand, a high commissioner is the head of high commission

and he/she is regarded as a senior diplomat in charge of the

diplomatic mission in Commonwealth nations. The high commissioner

normally keeps the interest of locals as well as their own citizens

ahead.

“The understood policy is that any nation which was a part of British

colonies normally appoints a high commissioner only (not an

ambassador) in Commonwealth countries. Actually, in the British

empire, high commissioners were envoys of the imperial government

appointed to manage various territories which were not fully under

sovereignty of the British Crown,” said the forum of nationalists.

It strongly opposes such a policy linked to the colonial legacy and

urges the Centre to appoint the diplomatic representatives according

to the interest of Indians only. PPFA argues that there is no reason

to follow the British legacy anymore. As a sovereign nation, India

must establish its diplomatic independence (no matter what other

Commonwealth countries would prefer to do), asserted the forum.

Finally, the PPFA opines that there is an urgent need to revisit the

existence of the Commonwealth in its present form. The organisational

structure of the Commonwealth has far outlived its usefulness,

asserted the forum, adding that it should be transformed with an aim

to cater the needs, aspirations and values of various democratic

nations in the globe.