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Sunday, April 29, 2012

chanakya's lessons on diplomacy

प्रगल्भो बुद्धिमान् वक्ता परचित्तोपलक्षकः।
धीरो यथोक्तवादो च दूत इत्यभिधीयते॥७॥
॥चाणक्यराजनीतिशास्त्रे पञ्चमोध्यायः॥

pragalbho buddhimān vaktā paracittopalakṣakaḥ|

dhīro yathoktavādo ca dūta ityabhidhīyate||7||
|hāṇakyarājanītiśāstre pañcamodhyāyaḥ||

The qualities of a good emissary or ambassador  are enumerated by the great statesman Chanakya in his treatise on  statecraft.. chanakyaraajaniitishastram..

"  A good emissary  should be  eminently  knowledgeable,
 possessed of sharp intelligence, 
highly talented in oratory, 
capable of reading and anticipating the thought-process of the adversary, 
 of great physical valour and resourcefulness, 
 very sincere and meticulous in conveying only what he is asked to convey on behalf of his master or the king."

It would appear that the master statesman has enumerated  in this short aphorism all that is expected from an envoy .  All the documents of protocol and rules of procedure written out even in modern times for inter-state diplomacy would expect all these qualities in anyone working in the foreign service for his own country.

Knowledge of the great past and the realistic evaluation of the present and deep commitments for the dreams of one's own country should be a prerequisite for an envoy since he is expected almost single handedly   his own king or nation for its benefit in the international fora.

 Sharp intelligence is essential for one who will have to take decisions always in the interest of his own country since those decisions are likely to affect his own fate along with that of his nation..and the slightest slip can slide down his country's interest to abysmal depths.  

In an assembly of men, the man who presents his case most articulately wins the day.Gift of the gab is a big advantage here

 A man possessed of wisdom and thorough knowledge of the general trends of the day and the implied attitudes of the rival nation  should be able to read what is the mindset of the other party to the negotiation..For diplomacy is nothing but negotiation, at times coated with sweetness and at other times assuming a tone of mild intimidation.  But the emissary can succeed only if he has the capacity to rightly guess what is really happening in the mind of the negotiating party on the other side of the table..

 When an emissary is canvassing the case of his country especially with a nation with a big-brotherly attitude, he is likely to be intimidated and excessive dosage of boldness would be necessary to stand his own ground.

 For men with knowledge, and capacity to speak, the tendency to think too freely and substitute his own views instead of the avowed state policy  is likely to raise his head. A diplomat has to realize that he should never speak out beyond the instructions that his state has given. This  principle should be followed in words and spirit.


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