Indian diplomats are increasingly using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and country-specific social media networks to stay in touch with the world. This has resulted in new trend of e-diplomacy.

What is e-diplomacy?

E-diplomacy is use of social media by diplomats to be in touch with the world especially netizens.

For example, using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and country-specific social media networks can contacts with a target online audience and then directly addressing this audience with specific messages anywhere in the world.

It aims to expand India’s digital footprints in a big way, both within the ministry and to the outside world.

It represents a form of information management, or the management of knowledge and experience accumulated by foreign ministries.

Why it is required?

In view of India’s increased engagement with countries across the globe, it was felt to use the opportunities afforded by both the social and digital media.

E-diplomacy will help to expand India’s digital presence to connect to the new generation of tech-savvy youth and a globally wired world which is hungry to know more about the positions and modulations of Indian diplomacy on key global issues.

What are its advantages?

E-diplomacy tools simplify processing of visa documents and facilitate direct contacts with citizens abroad.

In case of occurrence of emergencies and natural disasters, e-diplomacy tools become particularly useful, providing foreign citizens a means of communication with their state embassies or consulates.

Discussion forum e- diplomacy may enable diplomats to engage in free-wheeling discussions and provide valuable inputs on foreign policy issues.

In consular affairs, e-diplomacy tools simplify processing of visa documents and facilitate direct contacts with citizens abroad.

Smartphone app may user’s access information on passport norms, foreign policy initiatives and Indian consulates, among others.

How e-diplomacy platform will be created in India?

A secure virtual platform with stringent safety features has been provided to enable the confidentiality of these discussions among Indian diplomats.

India Perspectives, the flagship publication of the ministry which is printed in 14 foreign languages and circulated among Indian missions abroad too now has a digital version.

Infact, this publication will be made available on a dedicated channel for the digital magazine store, enabling readers to access it on the go.

The idea behind this is to provide such publications outside the libraries and be easily accessible to all onto iPads, laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc.

The MEA’s digital endeavour has also seen it undertaking the gargantuan task of building a digital database of the treaties and agreements that India has inked with other countries.  The legal and treaties division of the ministry has readied a database providing details beginning 1983 onwards.

Using mobile application it will be easier to apply for the passport and check the status of your passport on your mobile.

E-diplomacy implications

Digitisation has not remained confined to the printed word along with the MEA also making available lectures by former Indian envoys on cloud and as Podcasts.

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