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Students, new goodwill envoys

delhi Updated: Apr 08, 2011 01:20 IST
Jayanth Jacob

The foreign ministry has struck upon a new idea to win friends and influence people to boost India's image across the world.

From Ivy League universities and colleges in the US to top institutions in China, all Indian embassies and missions abroad have been instructed to organise India-centric competitions and events and use social networking sites to engage with bright young minds with a view to win their support.

Top Indian educational establishments such as the Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay and the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad will also be roped in to boost the effort.

"Principally, it's leveraging social networking tools and reaching out to the youth and engaging them for India," said Navdeep Suri, joint secretary with the external affairs ministry's public diplomacy division.

To begin with, Indian missions will organise a series of engaging competitions and events with private partners to engage with youths.

These would include designing programmes that can improve the healthcare sector in India and the service delivery systems. The rewards for excelling in the competitions will include cash prizes and a trip to India.

The ministry has recently asked all its foreign mission to open pages on sites such as Facebook and Orkut and their local equivalents.

The pages would be in English and the local language.