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Perfecting the art of diplomacy in the world of politics
September 24, 2013, 4:20 pm
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E Ahmed

“Diplomacy is more than saying or doing the right things at the right time, it is avoiding saying or doing the wrong things at any time.”       

Perhaps this dictum has made diplomacy as an art of convergence of various streams of thought coming to flow in one direction. Diplomacy at its best has saved the world from many catastrophes and war through dialogues and negotiations; at worst it has brought disaster and trouble for mankind.

Many successful diplomats have made good politicians like Mani Shankar Aiyar, Meira Kumar who has served as Minister and now the Lok Sabha Speaker and K R Narayanan who rose to become the President of India.

Present Vice President of India M Hamid Ansari is also a career diplomat. They were all career diplomats but also made their name in the realm of politics.

However, there is one amazing name of E Ahmed who despite having a strikingly long successful political career has emerged as a big name in the world of diplomacy, the way he perfected this art of convergence and the respect and attention he attracts both as a minister and a diplomat.

E Ahmed tryst with the world of diplomacy began in 2004 when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh inducted him as Minister of State of External Affairs in the UPA1. He soon announced his entry into this world, initiating dialogues with several Gulf nations, encouraging bilateral talks, addressing key problem areas and overall improving India’s growing ties with nations in the Gulf region.

Among the trip of several heads of States during his tenure also included the historic visit of HH The Amir of Kuwait in June 2006. The Amir visit led to further strengthening of the ties between the two great nations and continues to grow thanks to the effort of the Minister.

That his increasing importance in the world of diplomacy can be gauged by the fact that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh re-inducted him to the same ministry after a brief  gap of ten month when he was sworn in as Minister of State for Railways in 2009.  Since then E.Ahamed continues to hold the portfolio in the Indian Foreign ministry and ably guiding its policies and emerging dimensions.

During a trip to Kuwait to attend the Syria Donors conference, E Ahmed spoke glowingly about the traditional and warm ties that India and Kuwait share in a brief tete-tete with The Times, Kuwait.

 "India and Kuwait have always shared warm, traditional and deep ties, which have been growing and strengthening over the years. In fact, during a recent meeting between delegations of the two countries, the situation in Syria was discussed, and we had a good dialogue on the way forward on the issue," Ahmed said.

On the sidelines of the Donor Conference, the Minister revealed that the governments of the two countries were engaged in high-level exchanges, some of which had been going on for decades encroaching new contours. 

When asked how he saw relations between the two countries in the immediate future, Ahmed said he was confident of better and brighter ties, and added that there were a couple of things in the pipeline. “ India and Kuwait have shared a historical relationship for centuries, the foundation is strong and we have measures to take it further ahead”

Speaking eloquently spoke about the centuries-old relations between India and Kuwait minister of state stated that the two countries shares very close political, economic, trade and cultural relations and people-to-people contact. “For many Indians, Kuwait is a home away from home while many Kuwaitis retain and cherish their links to India even today,” he said.

The minister said there have been regular exchanges between the two countries. Both countries also have a history of high-level visits like that of HH Amir’s visit to India in June 2006. Subsequently, India’s Vice-president visited Kuwait in April 2009 and External Affairs Minister in 2010 and 2011, he recalled.

 “Kuwait’s progress since its independence has been spectacular. Today, it is a modern and developed state with an enviable social security system. It is a vibrant and open society with democratic traditions,” he stated.

 The minister  was full of praise for the faith and trusts the Kuwait authorities and people reposed in Indian community which is the largest expatriate community in the country. He said that the more than 640,000-strong Indian community in Kuwait, which has a reputation for being capable, industrious and law-abiding, plays a pivotal role in promoting bilateral relations.

As a Minister, E Ahmed has brought diplomacy closer to the people

His specialty is his easily accessibility to even a layman. You can call him on his mobile phone anytime and he will personally answer it. This is a quality that you can’t find in any leader, especially a person who is holding a central ministership.  At times I wonder how he how he is able to do it despite his pressing engagement

Talking to Minister E Ahmed, one thing that emerged from his persona and a lesson for many diplomats that success of diplomacy is to open all doors, give easy accessibility and not by closing the iron gate and then live within, block all stream of thought.

 Known for his personal close links with Kuwait, E Ahmed enjoys good relationship with the Kuwaiti leadership including HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed. During the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq, E. Ahmed presented the case for Kuwait at the Indian Parliament.

An additional portfolio (MoS HRD) for E Ahmad, minister of state for external affairs, is a reward for the Congress's key ally, the Muslim League, in Kerala.

E Ahmed is a six-term MP from Ponnani (Kerala) and enjoys a good rapport with the Congress Central leadership. In 2004-09, he was minister of state for external affairs and in the second UPA government he was MoS Railways but after one-year he got back his old portfolio. He enjoys good relations with heads of state of many Gulf countries.

E.Ahmed is one of the oldest member MP  of Kerala. He has been extraordinary right throughout and ever since he joined in as a member of the parliament of the state.

 There were many programmes and events that E.Ahamed got involved within the state of Kerala in order to improve the focus of  the state.

He was first elected as a member of the Lok sabha Elections in 1991 and since then has continuously represented the constituency.

E. Ahamed graduated from Govt. Brennen College in Tellicherry, Kerala and later obtained a Law Degree from the Government Law College in Thiruvanathapuram, Kerala.

He was elected to the Kerala Legislative Assembly in 1967, 1977, 1980, 1982 and 1987. From 1982 to 1987, he served as Cabinet Minister for Industries, Government of Kerala.

From 1971 to 1977, Mr. Ahamed was the Founding Chairman of the Kerala State Rural Development Board. From 1979 to 1980 he was the Executive Chairman of the Kerala State Small Scale Industries Development Corporation. From 1981 to 1983 he was the Chairman of the Municipal Council in Kannur, Kerala.

He is currently the National President of the Indian Union Muslim League. During his tenure in the Parliament, he has been a member of several parliamentary committees including External Affairs, Railways, Civil Aviation and Tourism, Public Undertakings, Science and Technology, Environment and Forests. Mr. Ahamed was also the Chairman of the Government Assurance Committee.

E Ahmed is widely travelled and has represented India in the United Nations six times between 1991 and 2009. In 1984, he was sent to GCC countries as an Emissary of the then Prime Minister late Mrs. Indira Gandhi. E. Ahmed has performed Hajj seven times - five times as Member of Government of India Haj Goodwill Delegation. He has also authored 3 books in English and Malayalam.

He was married to Late Mrs. Zuhara Ahmed and is blessed with two sons and one daughter.

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