The Embassy of Japan in India hosted the release of the book, Half a Century: My Connections with Japan-A Memoir, written by Ambassador Aftab Seth. The book launch was marked by a welcome speech from H.E. Takeshi Yagi, Ambassador of Japan to India. The book was introduced through a panel discussion on Indo-Japan relationship by eminent speakers. (Rtrd) IFS officer, Shiv Shankar Mukherjee, Ambassador to Damascus, Lusaka, Washington, Brussels and Cairo, High Commissioner to Pretoria and UK along with another distinguished Retd. IAS officer, Wajahat Habibullah, first Chief Information Commissioner of India who also served the Indian Foreign Ministry as Director General of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, a writer and the former chairperson of the National Commission for Minorities, touched upon the cultural and socio-political dimensions of Japan. Poet, translator, artist, and editor Sudeep Sen read out a beautiful poem on Japan to add an artistic angle to it.
Half a century is a journey of Ambassador Seth’s days in Japan; starting as a student in Tokyo in the early sixties before the 1964 Olympics, the mystique associated with the oldest monarchy as seen by an ambassador who knows the Japanese language and the people, India Japan relations in the early seventies as seen by a junior diplomat, and a frank portrayal of the highs and lows in the relationship across this entire period from the 1971 war, the May 1998 nuclear tests, economic sanctions and then the blossoming of the Global Partnership for the 21st Century.
Beyond the world of diplomacy, the author gives an account of the years spent in Japan as a university professor. This last decade of the author@aps@s connections with Japan describe attempts to link academic institutions across many continents, the work of an NGO he founded and the many educational institutions with which the author is connected.
Dr. Aftab Seth, is not just one of the high profile Indian diplomats; he is a historian and an eminent leader in the field of education. In the capacity of Vice-President Global School Foundation, Dr. Seth’s presence and guidance is of intrinsic value to the staff and students of Global Indian International School (GIIS).
As an academic institution that is constantly striving for creating a knowledge pool per excellence, Dr. Seth’s book will be a great collectible for the libraries across GIIS campuses in Singapore, India, Malaysia, UAE and particularly in Japan; the school that he often visits and had been directly associated with, since its inception.