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A Conversation on India-Ireland Relations with Joe Hackett, Secretary General, Department of Foreign Affairs, Ireland

by Diplomatist Bureau - 12 January, 2024, 12:00 500 Views 0 Comment

The Observer Research Foundation (ORF) recently hosted a conversation with Joe Hackett, Secretary General, Department of Foreign Affairs, Ireland. The discussion, expertly moderated by Harsh Pant, Professor of International Relations at King’s India Institute, King’s College London, and Vice President of Studies and Foreign Policy at ORF, shed light on the rich diplomatic history between India and Ireland. H.E. Mr. Kevin Kelly, Ambassador of Ireland to India, played an important role by providing insights into the 75 years of diplomatic ties between the two nations.

During the event, the Hindi version of Ireland’s Asia Pacific strategy document was released. Ireland is dedicated to fostering mutually advantageous political and economic ties in the Asia Pacific region. The commitment extends to promoting its values and engaging in respectful partnerships to implement sustainable solutions for the substantial global challenges at hand.

Secretary General Joe Hackett stressed that Ireland’s contacts with Asia Pacific include well established links, forged by migration, trade, culture, humanitarian efforts and diplomacy. The importance of Asia and the Pacific to this evolving global landscape is well understood in Ireland and in the EU. Stability in this region is critical to global stability.

In his detailed remarks, Secretary General Joe Hackett also highlighted the significance of the relations between India and Ireland. He outlined key areas of cooperation, including education, agriculture, culture and art, renewable energy, conflict management, terming it as a robust bilateral partnership.

He also acknowledged India’s leadership in the field of solar energy. He emphasised the potential for India to play a pivotal role in addressing the shared global concern of climate change. During the question and answer session, Hackett, speaking to Diplomatist, urged countries worldwide to take decisive actions to reduce carbon emissions. Importantly, he stressed that the private sector must step up and delivers innovative technologies to accelerate the reduction of emissions.

The Secretary General’s emphasis on India’s prowess in solar energy underscores the growing importance of sustainable and renewable solutions in combating climate change. As the global community grapples with the urgent need to transition towards cleaner energy sources, India’s leadership in solar energy becomes not just a national strength but a valuable contribution to the collective effort in mitigating the impacts of climate change.

To further strengthen connections with India, President Michael D. Higgins of Ireland has extended an invitation for a state visit to President Droupadi Murmu, as mentioned by Hackett.

“We aim to leverage cricket as a means to raise awareness of Ireland in India. There is a growing presence of Irish players in the Indian Premier League (IPL),” Hackett remarked. He also noted that Indians constitute nearly 1 percent of the population in Ireland, with approximately 70,000 Indians residing and working in the country.

“Ireland’s recent role as an elected member of the United Nations Security Council was a privileged opportunity for enhanced political contact with many Asia Pacific partners. Indeed, our long tradition of diplomatic engagement at the United Nations and our participation in peacekeeping operations remains critical in reinforcing our partnerships in the region,” added Secretary General Joe Hackett.

The event served as a platform for engaging dialogue on areas that connect India and Ireland, offering a glimpse into the shared values and aspirations of the two nations. By recognising and capitalizing on each other’s strengths, these two nations can contribute significantly to the resolution of shared challenges, thus exemplifying the true essence of international cooperation.

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