2014-05-15 16:34:57

Pope welcomes new ambassadors, urges fights against arms trade, forced migration

May 15, 2014 - ‎Pope Francis on Thursday welcomed to the Vatican seven new ambassadors to the Holy See, including Mysore Kapanaiah Lokesh of India, urging the world community to particularly fight arms trade and forced migration. The Pope received the ambassadors of India, Switzerland, Liberia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Jamaica and South Africa, as they presented their credentials to the Pope at a formal ceremony, at the start of their mission to the Holy See. In a common message to the diplomats, the Pope wished the people of their respective nations God’s abundant prosperity and peace. He said peace summarizes all the good that every person and all human societies aspire to. And even in diplomatic missions such as theirs, in their final analysis, the goal is to make peace in development and justice grow in the human family. However, the Pope admitted it is a goal not fully realized, which calls every generation to search for it anew in the face of challenges of every age.
In this regard the Pope pointed to two such challenges: arms trade and forced migration. The Pope noted that arms trade complicate and exacerbate solutions to conflicts, more so because much of it is illegal. He hoped the international community will usher in a new season of concerted and courageous effort to curtail proliferation of arms. Describing forced migration a true human tragedy, the Pope appreciated the great efforts of numerous agencies and volunteers, but said it is just not enough to respond to emergencies. It is time to tackle it with serious and responsible political approach involving all levels – local to the international.
In the phenomenon of migration, the Pope noted there are both heroic stories of persons and families who were able to come out of their inhuman situation and found dignity, freedom and security. On the other hand, unfortunately there are those whose condition make us weep and ashamed – our brothers and sisters, children of God, driven by the urge to live and work in peace face harrowing journeys, extortion, torture, oppression of every type, and often end up with death in the desert or in the sea bed. Forced migration, closely linked with conflicts and wars, and also the proliferation of arms, the Pope explained, are the wounds of the world that call us to be responsible for our brothers and sister so that no human being’s dignity is violated. It would be an absurd contradiction to talk of peace and at the same time promote and allow arms trade, he added.
The ambassador of India to Switzerland is also ambassador to the Holy See and the Principality of ‎Liechtenstein, and hence is based in Berne, Switzerland. Mr. Mysore Kapanaiah Lokesh’s appointment to the Holy See was made in March, and he formally presented his credentials to Pope Francis on Thursday, along with ambassadors of six other states. Mr. Lokesh joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1977. At the initial stage of his diplomatic career, he served at Indian Missions in Kandy and Colombo (Sri Lanka); Embassy of India, Brussels; and, High Commission of India, Lagos. Ambassador Lokesh has served as Counsellor/Minister in Embassy of India, Washington, (Nov 1994-June 1997); Consul General in Durban (July 1997-Nov 2000); Ambassador to Slovak Republic (Apr 2004-June 2007), Deputy Chief of Mission in Embassy of India, Brussels (Aug 2007-March 2010) and Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates (April 2010 - December 2013) Various assignments handled by Ambassador Lokesh in India include: Deputy Secretary, Defence Services Staff College, Wellington; Deputy Director General, Indian Council for Cultural Relations; and Joint Secretary (Africa), in the Ministry of External Affairs. Ambassador Lokesh is a Post-Graduate in Botany and in Military Science. Ambassador Lokesh is married and has two daughters. His wife, Mrs. Radhika Lal Lokesh, an Indian Foreign Service Officer, is currently Ambassador of India to the Republic of Ireland. Ambassador Lokesh is vastly travelled and besides Kannada (Mother Tongue) has good knowledge of Tamil, Sinhalese and French.

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