India to declassify foreign policy files on Sri Lanka

Following the recent declassification of 70,000 files, India’s external affairs ministry is in the process of declassifying another set of 220,000 files covering Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Iran, East Asia, Eurasia and the Americas, a senior official said.

“We are currently in a process of finalizing a major project to declassify another set of 220,000 files. Records covering Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Pakistan, Iran, Sri Lanka, East Asia, Eurasia and the Americas are going to be covered in this round,” Pinak Chakravarty, special secretary (Public Diplomacy), said while inaugurating a day-long international conference on the early years of India’s nuclear programme.

The conference was organised by defence ministry-funded think tank Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses along with the Nuclear Proliferation International History Project (NPIHP).

“This is the first time in many years that we have taken the initiative to declassify such a large number of files from the archives of the ministry of external affairs. We hope that this will lead to renewed academic interest and greater understanding of the evolution of Indian foreign policy,” he added.

Welcoming the external affairs ministry’s release of over 70,000 documents pertaining to India’s post-1947 diplomatic and foreign policy history, NPIHP co-director Christian Ostermann said the decision “effectively ends an era in which India’s role in the Cold War was researched and told based on documents from other countries – from Russia, China or Hungary”. (IANS)