Address (Excerpts) by Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar, Honourable Vice President to the Indian Foreign Service Officer Trainees of 2022 Batch at Upa-Rashtrapati Nivas in New Delhi on July 17, 2023.

New Delhi | July 17, 2023

My greetings to all of you!

The room is fully surcharged, it is very impactful. The world will see it in decades to come.

You cannot imagine the kind of happiness and satisfaction I am having at the moment. The future of the country is very bright because of the rich human resource we have, you represent it, you exemplify it, and you proved it and have shown it to the world. Those who are present here constitute the crème of the society in your generation. You have taken the toughest Examination on the planet and have made it. Your part of the most premium service of the country.

You will ever be ambassadors, and foot soldiers of Bharat that is home to one sixth of humanity. Your Calibre, your competence, your dedication, your direction will ensure India's march to 2047 from Amrit kaal will indeed be historic, epochal, and full of achievements.

Some of us may not be around in 2047 when India celebrates the centenary of its independence, but you will be there. You are lucky to be at a time in the country where the country's image is rising upward continuously.

I am so happy three of you are lawyers from good institutes, you are from various states of the country bringing on the table premium experience, urban and rural backgrounds all intermixed.

Such a powerful combination as a matter of fact is representing our Civilization Ethos, and what India stands for.

This service will offer something to you that other services don't. You will have Global footprint. You will be able to serve Bharat in the best of traditions, with the kind of tough training that has been imparted all over the globe. It is a great opportunity for personal development and a greater pride and satisfaction that you will be representing in the world, the largest democracy on the planet. The largest democracy, the most functional and vibrant democracy.

I can tell you my young friends that no country in the world has that kind of constitutional mechanism of democracy that we have. Our Constitution provides for democracy at the village level, panchayat level, zila parishad, panchayat samiti and at the state level legislatures, and of course at the central level, the Parliament.

We also have democracy in our cooperative mechanism constitutionally provided. No country in the world can claim to be in that status.

The strength of democracy lies in the transition of power. In our country without fail the transition of power is only through one means i.e. through electoral process, that is power of the ballot. Not many countries can claim to have from the beginning itself the adult franchise which we had. So we are a unique country, when you go abroad you will find countries with a history of 300 years, 400 years, maybe 1000 years. Our civilizational impact has been felt for over 5000 years.

I have no doubt that as foot soldiers you will be brand ambassadors of the country. When I say so, I mean it literally and figuratively. You will be the brand ambassador of this great nation.

Friends, the world is an epochal change at the moment, change which you may not have seen or anticipated and you may not have even dreamt of. That change is taking place. India has become a factor to reckon with globally. No argument needed. It is very clear to one and all India has occupied the position on global firmament that it deserved long back.

India's presence on global fora is highly impactful. We are living in times when the world waits to listen to what the Indian Prime Minister will say. That scenario is our pride.

Friends, every opportunity has a great challenge within and every challenge has an opportunity. You will be going to places that will have different cultures, different languages, different cuisine and you will have to be in sync with that but that should be quite convenient for someone who is from Bharat. This room, the human resource is so diversified when it comes to representation, educational background and there is good balancing of gender also. You will get one very sublime exposure of the Indian Diaspora. Can you imagine we have over 32 million diaspora dotted all over the globe. We are proud of our Indian Diaspora, they are our pride.

Our Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji has given them a new dimension; he has catalyzed them into a great energy. Our diaspora is highly recognized because they work for the land where they are positioned at the moment and they also contribute for the welfare of their motherland that is Bharat. Your connection with them, on how you unleash their energy for betterment of humanity and Bharat will be a challenge to you but I have no doubt that you will be able to perform it in an amazing manner with great success.

By nature of your job, you are required to catalyze situations, you are required to anticipate. One big change which we see when a girl is married in a family, she comes to a new family all together, she gets acclimatized, she might have tough time, serious emotive issues are there, for you, it is your career. You will be dealing with nations that will not be the same as your own country in this style of governance, in the manner of climate, in the manner of habits, in the availability of infrastructure and other scenarios. I have no doubt in such a situation you will vindicate what the PM has said," Be innovative, think out of the box and always keep interest of the nation first."

When you go outside you represent India's excellence, you represent India's human capacity. If you look around the globe and you all had options to take careers where you would have got many folds fiscal benefits but, in that situation you would not have got the opportunity to serve the motherland. Therefore, your genius is channelized to help humanity at large because our civilizational ethos indicates, the World is one; that is the theme of G-20 also, ‘One Earth One Family’, we believe in that culture and that is why India is known for handholding culture in the country and outside. Just reflect on COVID, 1.3 billion people were dealing with COVID. Our government was in extremely affirmative mode, we effected success. The way the people cooperated; in the process we had Vaccine Maitri. We did not lag behind in helping others and most of it was in the form of assistance to other countries.

And other feat which you must note because you are living in times that is defining global history at the moment. India is in the position to contribute massively in this big change.

I will share with you some statistics, In September 2022 India became the fifth largest global economy, and in the process we overtook whom? Our erstwhile colonial rulers. By the turn of the decade we will undoubtedly be the third largest global economy. By your sweat, by your dedication, by your commitment, when Bharat reaches 2047, Bharat at 2047 will be number one. I have no doubt about it.

India's rise at the moment was not dreamt, a few years ago, I remember a scene when I was elected to the parliament in 1989. I had the occasion to be the minister during that period in the central government. I made foreign trips as a minister; I have made foreign trips now as India's Vice President. Friends, I know the difference now, the difference is huge, the difference is significant, the word India itself makes sense to one and all. Our passport is now very different. Any suggestion coming from the Indian government is taken seriously by the most powerful nations.

The historic address and the historic state reception were given to the PM in the US recently, a very powerful democracy. I am sure you are in the game of it, you must have taken note of it carefully. It was very significant, very impactful; India has arrived on the global scene as never before.

It is a challenge to you, how you generate an ecosystem that how one sixth of humanity can be kept away from decision making bodies of the world. We have withstood India not being a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for long, but that has to take place. You will have to engage into several activities by catalyzing change.

I can tell you there are certain situations where we must be extremely alive. There are sinister forces with pernicious design to tarnish, taint and run down our constitutional democracy. You will have to engage into sharp dissemination of information, we have to antidote and neutralize these forces and that will be successfully done when you know the ground reality at the moment and are well embedded in the history and culture of this nation. I have no doubt that you all as Warriors@2047 are fully capable and competent to do it and you shall do it.

During our time we had a concept; it was very painful to notice India was dismissed as a basket case. We were part of fragile five. Look at that scene, most of you were either not born or maybe toddlers, now what the pleasant spectacle for me, when I go to Qatar I notice India is a bright spot in the global economy. India is the destination for investment and opportunity and it is undoubtedly.

If you look around in your times you must have seen incremental growth in our infrastructure, technology, road, rail, air; all this has happened so we have become from basket case to a beacon of hope. The world is looking at us.

A dynamic, visionary leadership of the honorable Prime Minister, execution has been the hallmark of it, India is in transformational change and the change is for the better that is why it has emerged as the strongest voice of the Global-South.

There was a time when people outside used to advise us on everything under the sun, paradoxical but pleasant ones. Those advisors are now seeking our advice on how to handle their affairs.

Let me give you a simple illustration on digital transfer, digital transfer is very difficult in a country of 1.3 billion and more because you may have technology, you may have serving capacity but the recipient has to be involved, the recipient has to come up to the mark. What is the figure for 2022? More than 46% of digital transfers were in our country. Around 1.5 trillion USD was the financial impact if take the statistics little further, our transactions in 2022 in digital area were more than that of the USA, UK, France, Germany taken together and multiplied by four. We could never imagine that 110 million farmers would get direct benefit from the government under PM Kisan Samman Nidhi, they are getting it thrice a year. This could never have been visualized earlier. The world is stunned at the kind of progress India has made. This has made our India geo-politically very strong. Our voice matters.

You as foreign service officers have to know, that Indian PM has made two historic statements, in the last two years. One, "we are not living in an era of expansion", you would see the meaning of it more than anyone else. Expansion means some country decides to overtake the sovereignty of some other country, that was the message but the world accepted it. Second, “War is no solution to any problem", it has to be dialogue and diplomacy. Diplomacy has to be your forte.

I remember long back somebody told me, in diplomacy, if you win a point by argument, you lose the battle. Argument is for ordinary discussions, ordinary debates, and ordinary dialogues. In diplomacy there is no argument. Diplomacy is very subtle, very refined, it is full of nuances.

That is why I need you to be thoroughly informed of about our culture, civilizational ethos, our historical background because no country in the world can rival that. We are unique in that sense.

Friends, when it comes to Indian genius, I have been telling people over and over again, we are Eklavyas, even without a tutor around, we learn very fast. This is even truer, for those leaving in remote villages or semi urban areas. That is why we have 850 million Smartphone internet connections, but per capita data consumption is more than that of USA and China taken together. That is tribute to genius of our mind.

We often say in our home state, "सोने पे सुहागा है", when untrained mind can pick up so fast, with the trained mind like yours the results are bound to be geometrical. And your geometrical results will help the nation as never before.

There was a time when economically India was at peak, we were home to global institutions like Nalanda and Takshila made us proud. You will help us regain that position and that will fructify for sure, when India attains centenary of its independence in 2047.

The people of this country look up to you for what Bharat will be in 2047. I recollect when honorable PM was addressing a batch like yours, he said, “dialogue and diplomacy are the greatest weapons." they can be further weaponized when you bring cultural, civilizational ethos and history to your aid.

Friends, there will be tough challenges in your career when you will be in the beginning you will look around at your peers they might be getting some role somewhere, they would be talking in a different manner that you could have made better outside financially. But when I addressed the Indian Bureaucracy on the Civil Services Day, I give one point to them, no one in India belonging to any family rich or poor, he would have always dreamt of getting into IAS or IFS, in the Civil Service of the country, no one is there who would not have this dream, your dream has come true. Time is that you realise the dreams and aspirations of over 1.3 billion people, I have no doubt you will do it.

Friends, you have to be somewhat different to make a difference that is an individual trait which I have myself seen. If I have been abroad, I have noticed young Indian Foreign Service officials and trust me they delivered so effectively, I can never forget their face. I may not be in a position by the virtue of age or otherwise to know firsthand what your accomplishment would be but I can tell you there is an element of predictability because of the tough training you get and that is you will make a difference wherever you go, you will make a difference for the better you will be an asset for the country and you shall never get away from the fact that we have to place nation always first this is not optional, this is not compulsive, this is the only way that is in the interest of nation and the interest of humanity.

My congratulations to all of you. Can you imagine the kind of happiness your family, society got when you were selected in IFS? Can you imagine the kind of happiness, you family, your friends, your society got, when you made it through IFS? Can you imagine the pride in the body language of your parents and family! Your one achievement has gratified the entire ecosystem in your circle. Your accomplishments will electrify the largest democracy on the planet. I have no doubt about it.

Best of Luck, be ever happy, and be ever blessed.

Thank you.