Different levels of Diplomacy | Track 1, Track 2, Track 3

Diplomacy has got more nuances than you understand (including a track 1.5)!

The Ministerial Session of the eighth edition of Delhi Dialogue, the pre-eminent annual Track 1.5 dialogue process for brainstorming on all aspects of the ASEAN-India relationship, took place in the evening of 18 February 2016 at New Delhi.

We will talk at lengths on the ASEAN-India relationship as we develop our introductory series on IR for IAS further, but today let’s understand diplomacy in its tracks!

Traditionally, the term “diplomacy” referred to interaction between nation-states. More recently, however, scholars have delineated several levels of diplomacy. Tracks 1 and 2 are the most frequently used terms.


#1. Track 1 Diplomacy:

Official discussions typically involving high-level political and military leaders and focusing on cease-fires, peace talks, and treaties and other agreements. Heads of states meet, have hi-tea, discuss issues and release joint statements etc.



#2. Track 2 Diplomacy:

Unofficial dialogue and problem-solving activities aimed at building relationships and encouraging new thinking that can inform the official process.

Since it is unofficial –  you can expect to see influential academic, religious, and NGO leaders and other civil society actors who can interact more freely than high-ranking officials. Think of Baba Ramdev and Amir Khan trying to chit chat with officials of Pak Foreign ministry, cajoling them into buying an idea (hopefully for more peace and er. yoga!)

Here’s where we see the emergence of term – Track 1.5 to denote a situation in which official and non-official actors work together to resolve conflicts. Read this press release from MEA in the light of this definition – Ministerial Session of Delhi Dialogue VIII


#3. Track 3 Diplomacy:

People-to-people diplomacy undertaken by individuals and private groups. It would not be further from truth if we say that the “aam aadmi” of India does not really hate his counterpart at Pakistan. Beyond the media and political blur, there are a lot of initiatives which get people closer (do we hear bollywood).

Pakistan loves our films and actors, we love their cuisine and musicians!

Normally focused at the grassroots level, this type of diplomacy often involves organizing meetings and conferences, generating media exposure, and political and legal advocacy for marginalized people and communities.


#4. Multitrack Diplomacy:

A term for operating on several tracks simultaneously, including official and unofficial conflict resolution efforts, citizen and scientific exchanges, international business negotiations, international cultural and athletic activities, and other cooperative efforts.



By B2B

Revisiting the Basics

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