Nuts and Bolts of Diplomacy

Session Report
Rahul Soni


IMPRI Center for International Relations and Strategic Studies, IMPRI Impact and Policy Research Institute, New Delhi, conducted an online training course on Diplomacy and Foreign Policy. Day 2 of the session covered the theme Nuts and Bolts of Diplomacy: Practitioners Experience. The session commenced with an illuminating briefing by the esteemed speaker Ambassador Riva Ganguly Das, who shared insights into her extensive 35-year immersive career path as a diplomat across various countries including Romania, Netherlands, Spain, USA, China, and numerous others. Her experiences highlighted the diverse landscapes of diplomacy and foreign policy, setting the stage for an enriching discussion on the requisite skills and nuances within this field.

Skills Required in Diplomacy and Foreign Policy

The speaker profoundly highlighted the indispensable skills imperative for a thriving career in diplomacy, unraveling a roadmap crucial for success in the realm of international relations. Emphasizing language and communication as foundational pillars, the discourse underscored the pivotal role of mastering multilingualism and nuanced communication techniques. Diplomats, the speaker emphasized, must possess an adept command of multiple languages to transcend linguistic barriers and foster effective negotiation and relationship-building on the global stage. This fluency becomes the conduit for fostering understanding and trust between nations.

Moreover, the session delved into the significance of framing discussions and actions through the lens of cultural sensitivity. The speaker ardently advocated for a profound comprehension of diverse cultures as an instrumental tool for adeptly navigating international relations. Highlighting the importance of cultural nuances, this understanding forms the bedrock for establishing mutual respect and amicable collaborations among nations, transcending cultural differences.

An equally significant aspect illuminated was the imperative cognizance of ground realities and the perspectives of diverse populations within the domain of foreign policy. This awareness serves as a compass aligning communication strategies and commitments with the actualities and needs of one’s own country. By integrating these realities into the diplomatic discourse, practitioners can craft strategies and engagements that resonate authentically within the national context, fostering more effective and impactful international relationships.

In essence, the session expounded on the multifaceted skill set necessary for diplomats, emphasizing linguistic prowess, cultural empathy, and a keen understanding of ground realities. These competencies form the cornerstone of a diplomat’s ability to navigate the complexities of global diplomacy, fostering meaningful connections and collaborations on an international scale.

Negotiation in Diplomacy

Transitioning into the broader theme of negotiation, the speaker emphasized the indispensable nature of profound knowledge about the individuals and communities one interacts with in diplomacy. Distinguishing between bilateral and multilateral diplomacy, she elucidated that while the former offers more communication liberty, the latter demands a different approach due to its complex dynamics involving multiple stakeholders. A key takeaway was the essence of give-and-take in negotiation, constituting the crux of diplomatic interactions and agreements.

Soft Power and India’s Diplomatic Stand

The discussion delved into the concept of soft power, with the speaker providing real-world examples to illustrate its significance in international relations. She expounded upon India’s soft power and its influence, citing instances where cultural, educational, and economic strengths have bolstered India’s global image and diplomatic relationships.

Doubt Session

The session concluded with an interactive doubt-clearing segment, allowing participants to seek clarification on various aspects discussed. Queries spanned from nuanced negotiation tactics to practical insights on applying diplomatic skills in real-world scenarios.


The session named “Nuts and Bolts of Diplomacy: Insights from Practitioners” concluded as insightful one helping future diplomats, policymakers, and international relations enthusiasts. It provided a wealth of experiences, knowledge, and practical skills necessary to navigate the complex world of global affairs. Overall, the session encapsulated the essence of diplomacy and foreign policy, emphasizing the multifaceted skills and strategies pivotal in navigating the complexities of international relations.

Acknowledgement: Rahul Soni is a Research Intern at IMPRI.

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