November 04, 2012

China to open cultural centre in Nepal

Indian Ambassadors have repeatedly failed in setting up India Cultural Center in Washington DC, while China has three major cultural centers in DC. So do Pakistan. Pakistan embassy have large buildings with auditoriums, is also very active  in DC events/cultural scene with food exhibitions. One new ultra modern Building is being constructed by the Pakis in Massachusetts Ave in Downtown DC, in addition to their existing large building in Conn. Ave.  Embassy of Saudi Arabia host varied events to International community and events that public can directly interact with their Ambassador and also the Foreign minister. 

Very few Indian ambassadors are famous and hold respect in the International community for their aptitude and diplomatic credentials like Amb. T.P.Sreenvasan-ji or Ronen Senji or KPS Menonji while 100s retire with no known contributions even at the level of Foreign Secretary.  Due to their political closeness they get posted as Ambassador to USA or Britain or China and not due to their merits.  This problem is due to Indian civil service which hire and place wrong people in positions which demand knowledge, vision, drive, initiative and capabilities to execute objectives and missions that directly reflect Indian policies and cultural heritage.   Indian Foreign Service shall directly hire  people with proven capabilities in respective fields to be posted in the Press & Media, economic affairs, Cultural affairs, Educational affairs, Commerce and Science & Technology, instead of an IFS officer who has no clue in these type of respective professional positions. This is evident in the Embassy of India in Washington,DC.   The standards of obtaining OCI card or any minor matters are different in Consulates in Chicago or NY, or SFO which create confusion among who want to avail the services. These Indian consulates have websites which has different rules and standards for the same matters(eg.OCI or Visa) Also, good customer service is what Indian consular staff is not aware about. The way Indian embassy staff in Washington DC treat someone in their consulates is really bad. The Indian ambassador has no interest in going and sitting with customers who avail the service to understand the problems Indians face at the consulate unlike Ambassador of German embassy or Polish or Brunie or even Britain. I accompanied my friend to get a visa to Britain. He handed over the Paperwork to none other than the British Ambassador Sir Peter Westmacott and his wife who collected paperwork at the entrance of the consular office, which is really surprising!! British Ambassador does work for customers often.  So do many ambassadors of nations like Sweden or France. So the people of those nations give lot of high respect to their ambassador due to the exceptional customer service.  Can anyone imagine these type of customer service at Indian embassy? ? How many Indian ambassadors are customer service centric?  Indian foreign service officers from Foreign Secretary to first or second secretaries does know whom they are sitting for what is the main purpose of the embassy in the foreign nation. 

Any nation whether it is European, African or Middle East,  including China is very serious and active in spreading its soft power through their cultural centers set up by its embassies worldwide, Except the Indian embassy.  This is one of the foremost tasks of any foreign mission to spread awareness of their nation's cultural and scientific capabilities in that foreign nation.   Saudi Arabia, China, Russia, Pakistan even Afghanistan are very active in the Washington DC events scene and entertain the Washingtonians with its varied cultural shows, heritages, food festivals, exhibitions except India or Indian embassy in Washington,DC. Cultural shows and free food to international people has yielded results in shaping a positive opinion of that nation. Unlike Indian diplomats, Most of these embassies have diplomats who has aptitude , vision with cultural and entertainment background which help to run in effective cultural programs to build goodwill among the international community in DC.  I attend events on behalf of International group ( where I am a director at many embassies which include speaking events of their scientists, or presentation of new invention or latest developments in science and technology not  just limiting to food or dance or music.  Recently attended an event  'Self sustaining towns and villages' presented by a famous Professor in Sydney who discovered this concept organized by the Embassy of Australia. India have lot of inventions and new concept development at its Universities and work places(govt and private) but doesnt get international attention as Indian embassies have no idea what is going on in the nation, or IFS officers have no sincere interest in bringing eminent people in India for speaking events or presentations in the foreign nations to spread awareness of what's happening in the nation.   

Embassies of molecular nations like Finnish embassy or Kenyan embassy or bigger ones like British or Australian ones, the core depts and divisions like cultural affairs are headed by the people with aptitude and have got a PhD in that respective fields.   I mentor and support  Emma Crimmings, newly posted Acting Director of Cultural affairs at the Embassy of Australia.  Also, advice few other diplomats in the other embassies(not supporting Pakistan or China, though I dine and wine with the foreign minister and diplomats). Indian embassy is out of the picture in any international scene in Washington, DC. So other ambassadors mock about Indian embassy and the mindset of the Indian diplomats as always ' closed'  as The recorded message of main phone number of Indian embassy in DC even during a week day start with  ' This office is closed'. 


China to open cultural centre in Nepal

by F wire Nov 2, 2012

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Kathmandu, Nov 2 (IANS) China is going to open a cultural centre in Nepal in its bid to augment the cultural bond between the two neighbouring countries, Xinhua news agency said.

Beijing believes that the establishment of a cultural centre in Kathmandu can provide impetus for a better understanding among the people as well as enhance mutual cooperation between the two countries.

The formal process for the centre's opening commenced Thursday as the two sides signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) at Nepal's ministry of culture, tourism and civil aviation (MoCTCA).

Yajna Prasad Gautam, secretary at Nepal's MoTCA, and Yang Houlan, Chinese ambassador signed the pact on behalf of their respective governments. Also present on this occasion was Nepal's Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Posta Bahadur Bogati.

On this occasion, Nepalese minister Bogati hoped that the new Chinese cultural centre would help both the countries to understand each other culturally and provide recourse to further develop the friendship in a new way.

"The establishment of cultural centre will help reduce cultural distance in hearts of the peoples of the both countries," Houlan said.

Without divulging the exact date for the cultural centre's becoming operational, the Chinese envoy said they were searching for a suitable land to open the centre "very soon".

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