Thirty-five years spent in the service of his beloved nation, India , fifteen years serving as an Ambassador/High Commissioner , and 25 post-retirement years immersed in the promotion of both Gandhian thought and philosophy, Ambassador (Retd.) Pascal Alan Nazareth has portrayed his prodigious life in his newly-released book A Ringside Seat to History: An Autobiography .

Rekindling international ties through culture: An Indian Ambassador’s perspective of Mexico
Rekindling international ties through culture: An Indian Ambassador’s perspective of Mexico

In his book, Ambassador Nazareth welcomes the reader into the world of diplomacy through vivid accounts of state visits, intimate dinners, and public events. Moreover, amidst his mesmerizing recollections, the diplomat discloses what lies at the heart of diplomacy : his role as a cultural and economic envoy, a role that went beyond diplomacy. In the end, the reader realizes the author has lived a thousand lives through his career.

'La Mágica de la India' in Mexico

Ambassador Pascal Alan Nazareth dedicated a special chapter to Mexico as he served as Indian Ambassador to Mexico from September 1992 to April 1994, the smallest mission he had served in during his entire IFS career.

Thanks to his vast diplomatic experience and deep knowledge of international relations, when Ambassador Nazareth arrived in Mexico, he soon realized India and the Latin American country were very similar; he was quick to locate promising entry points through culture and trade that would allow promoting India in Mexico, changing the relationship between both countries forever.

The seasoned diplomat promptly noticed that Mexico’s cultural diversity was a fertile bed for the promotion of Indian culture that would lead to the strengthening of amicable ties between both countries and therefore, aware of “the imperative need to build adequate mass and momentum to break through the ‘culture barrier’” he set to open an Indian Culture Center , a cultural project that was endorsed by relevant Mexican figures such as Nobel Laureate Octavio Paz .

Through a cultural program that included the screening of Indian films at Mexico’s Palace of Fine Arts and a 10-day Indian food festival, among many other activities, the diplomat laid the groundwork for a “major, wide-spectrum India Promotion in Mexico” that resignified the country’s view on India .

In this respect, The Economic Times of India published that “in an ambitious attempt to foster closer relations between the two countries, the Indian envoy organized a month-long, multidimensional India cultural festival in Mexico City and Acapulco with a total price of nearly US$1.5 million. It was the first of its kind in Latin America.”

Moreover, one of his most extraordinary achievements was to encourage the publication of a scholarly work on the historical and cultural links between India and Mexico . Published both in an English and Spanish edition, the book contained 15 articles by Indian and Mexican scholars that delved into the countries’ cultural, agricultural, political, and economic relations.

Through Mexican politicians, such as then- President Carlos Salinas , Ambassador Pascal Alan Nazareth was aware that “ Mexico had much to learn from India particularly in the fields of poverty alleviation, rural development, and industrial diversification/management,” key challenges faced by both countries.

Therefore, Ambassador Nazareth shared the measures implemented by his country in those fields and helped further India-Mexico relations and trade through meetings with Indian business delegations, as well as an India Trade and Investment seminar in collaboration with Mexico’s International Business Council.

It is worth mentioning that the diplomat tried to convey India’s experience in creating a link between the handicraft industries and industrialization stressing that “the talents in our people’s hands are valuable capital which needed to be utilized to maximum extent possible” while also being protected.

Though brief, Ambassador Pascal Alan Nazareth’s successful time in Mexico had a significant impact that helped him become one of India's most distinguished diplomats as well as a renowned figure in Mexico where his contributions helped foster India-Mexico ties.


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