Economy

UK to raise diplomatic presence in India

PTI London | Updated on May 11, 2011 Published on May 11, 2011

Britain has outlined plans to enhance its diplomatic presence in India by posting 30 more diplomats as part what the Foreign Secretary, Mr William Hague, calls “the biggest diplomatic advance by Britain in decades’’.

Cutting staff and funding for Britain’s embassies in Europe and deploying additional resources in India and China are among the plans outlined by Mr Hague to diplomats and staff of the Foreign Office on Tuesday.

The Foreign Office has already announced that the current High Commissioner to India, Mr Richard Stagg, will be replaced by Mr James Bevan in November.

Mr Hague’s plans include opening five new embassies in countries including El Salvador, Kyrgyzstan and South Sudan, as well as new offices in Brazil, Mexico, Turkey and Indonesia.

He said: “As foreign secretary I announced on day one that my objective is to ensure that there is no strategic shrinkage of Britain’s influence under this government. Our diplomatic network is the essential infrastructure for our foreign policy and our influence overseas.’’

He told the Foreign Office staff: “By 2015 we must aim to be a Foreign Office that is lean and efficient but configured to match the realities of the 21st century. Taken together, this represents the biggest strategic diplomatic advance by Britain in decades.”

Mr Hague is scheduled to outline the changes in a statement in the House of Commons later today.

Published on May 11, 2011
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