Bharat’s Diplomacy at the G20

Wednesday 13th September 2023 06:38 EDT

The G20 is about diplomacy. The chief diplomat of the world's most populous nation, the 5th largest economy, and largest democracy, Jaishankar was asked who he considered the greatest diplomat of all time.

His answer was Shree Krishna. I write shortly after Janmasthami.

I shall do as Oppenheimer did with his colleagues working in Government, and send my colleagues working in FCDO a copy of the Gita, central to understanding Krishna, and diplomacy.

Some would say the greatest diplomat was Kissinger, or maybe Gandhiji. Maybe Chanakya.

Combining the principles of Gandhi (non-violence and truth), Kissinger (realpolitik and pragmatism), and Chanakya (statecraft and strategy), here are the top 10 lessons of diplomacy from Shree Krishna:

Principle of Dharma: Krishna emphasized the importance of performing one's duty without attachment to the results. In the realm of diplomacy, this means acting in the best interests of one's nation without being swayed by personal gains or losses.

Strategic Realism: Like Kissinger's realpolitik, Krishna believed in understanding the ground realities and acting accordingly. He advised the Pandavas to form alliances and use strategy when direct confrontation was not in their favor.

Art of Negotiation: Krishna's attempt to prevent the Kurukshetra war by negotiating with the Kauravas is a testament to his belief in dialogue and compromise, much like Chanakya's diplomatic tactics.

Non-Violence as Strength: Drawing from Gandhi's principle of Ahimsa, Krishna taught that true strength lies not in physical might but in moral integrity and the ability to choose non-violence when possible.

Pragmatic Approach: Krishna's advice to Arjuna to fight against his own kin, when necessary, mirrors Kissinger's belief in making tough decisions based on national interest.

Intellectual Diplomacy: Chanakya emphasized the power of knowledge in statecraft. Similarly, Krishna used his wisdom to influence friends and foes alike, showcasing the importance of intellectual diplomacy.

Moral Leadership: Krishna believed in leading by example. His life, filled with acts of kindness, justice, and wisdom, serves as a guide for leaders to act with moral authority.

Balance of Power: Just as Kissinger believed in maintaining a balance of power to ensure peace, Krishna advised the Pandavas to keep their allies close and maintain a balance in their relationships to prevent large-scale conflicts.

Strategic Alliances: Drawing from Chanakya's emphasis on forming alliances for mutual benefit, Krishna's friendships with powerful kings and leaders showcase the importance of strategic partnerships in diplomacy.

Universal Brotherhood: Much like Gandhi's vision of a world united in peace, Krishna believed in the interconnectedness of all beings and the importance of harmony and cooperation.

Congratulations Bharat on a successful G20.

Jai Hind.

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