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How Sushma Swaraj perfected the art of public diplomacy

Sushma Swaraj will be best remembered for her active presence on social media and reaching out to Indians in distress in foreign lands

Godsend for Indian nationals stranded abroad

Sushma Swaraj was at once India's top diplomat and a godsend for Indian nationals stranded abroad or foreigners in need of a medical visa. 

She will be best remembered for her active presence on social media and reaching out to Indians in distress in foreign lands.

Swaraj was instrumental in rescuing more than 150 Indians from Basra in Iraq after a user shared a video of them with her.

She headed the Indian Foreign Ministry for five years between 2014 and 2019 and ably led from the front championing Indian foreign policy during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's first term in office.


 

(Photograph:AFP)

Made her mark in her own way

Though PM Modi took over most of the major trips and diplomatic dealings during her tenure as External Affairs Minister, Sushma Swaraj made her mark in her own way and connected with the foreign dignitaries far and wide.

 

 

(Photograph:AFP)

Human touch to the Ministry of External Affairs

Sushma Swaraj had perfected the art of public diplomacy. Through her constant presence on social media, she helped several Indians stranded in foreign lands.

Her ministry helped to reunite a deaf-mute Indian woman 'Geeta' who stayed in Pakistan for more than a decade.

Responding to every appeal for assistance, she made sure that the Indian missions reacted to the requests. Swaraj gave a human touch to the Ministry of External Affairs, and won millions of admirers across the world, including many in Pakistan.

In 2017, Swaraj also granted a year-long medical visa to a Pakistani girl Shireen Shiraz for open-heart surgery.

 

(Photograph:AFP)

Excelled at public diplomacy

Swaraj with a characteristic poise took down at Pakistan at the United Nations General Assembly.

She also articulated the country's position at the plenary session of the foreign ministers' meet of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in Abu Dhabi.

Swaraj acted tough when required. She left a meeting midway without even as much exchanging glances with or acknowledging the presence of her Pakistani counterpart on the margins of a meeting in New York.

 

(Photograph:AFP)

Towering figure in the world of diplomacy

Sushma Swaraj was of a diminutive build but she was a towering figure in the world of diplomacy, standing shoulder to shoulder with her male counterparts.

She can rightfully claim credit making a 'people-friendly' and responsive Foreign Ministry.

On her watch, the Foreign Ministry actually served as an interface between diplomats and people at large.

(Photograph:AFP)