How Sushma Swaraj turned mother to distressed Indians abroad

There is a new awakening in South Block, powered and inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's doctrine to help every Indian.

 |  2-minute read |   31-07-2016
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Merely the headline gives you the complete story.

"Mission accomplished," tweeted Sushma Swaraj, as the consulate distributed food to 10,000 starving Indians in Saudi Arabia.

There has hardly ever been such cordiality between Indians abroad and the government in Delhi. It's unfortunate that Indians have to go abroad for menial jobs and often fall in situations of distress.

They are poor, not very literate and belong to a section which is devoid of any influence or contacts in the corridors of power.

They are underpaid or not paid not at all, their passports are taken away by the employers, they don't know the local language of the administration and grievance redress and the hapless Indians resign themselves to their fate.

It's a new awakening in South Block, powered and inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's doctrine to help every Indian. It has brought about a refreshing change.

sushma-moss_073116054616.jpg Activists light candles around posters with the names of death row inmates awaiting executions, including that of India national Gurdip Singh, during a vigil against death penalty outside the presidential palace in Jakarta. Photo: AP

The common experience of those who fall in distress abroad is that Indian embassies never look at them as fellow Indians and hardly come forward to help. They are more in distress approaching the Indian government than many others, and often the Europeans or Americans are the ones who would help them.

The movie, Airlift, picturing the terrible situation arising in Kuwait for Indians and the rescue operation by Air India was more a saga of passionate, patriotic Indians than a government move.

Also read: Sushma Swaraj on rising assaults on African nationals in India

For the first time the ministry of external affairs (MEA) has gained accolades from everyone cutting across party lines for helping Indians in distress world over.

One has to see a few headlines in newspapers, the spontaneous reaction of common people to editorials and special features, to understand and appreciate that the stiff upper lip syndrome of the Indian Foreign Service has melted away and that it has come to be manned by people who are ready to serve in a humble, prompt and sincere manner.

Credit goes to Modi and Sushma's warmth and cordiality. The external affairs minister's tweets tell a lot about her personal attention and immediate response, something unheard of in the world of diplomacy. It's the power of peoples' diplomacy that has taken over the arrogance of the foreign service winning accolades from all.

Also read: When Sushma Swaraj showed wit isn't in Twitter's cold storage yet

On Thursday (July 28), Indonesia executed four persons, including three foreigners, for drug crimes, but spared the Indian-origin Gurdip Singh at the last moment. Officials said ten more convicts would be executed later.

One prays that Gurdip Singh, who is in an Indonesian jail awaiting execution for drug crimes, is spared in the end. 

 

Writer

Tarun Vijay Tarun Vijay @tarunvijay

The author is a former Rajya Sabha member and has directed a ten-part serial on the Indus river.

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