Raisina dialogue: India going global | By Maryam Mastoor


Raisina dialogue: India going global

RAISINA dialogue was conducted by India from March 2 till March 4, 2023. It was indeed remarkable. The main theme, Provocation, Uncertainty, Turbulence: Lighthouse in the Tempest? Infers India to be a lighthouse for the world in turbulent times of international affairs. It represented itself as a stabilizing agency for nations to look upon in uncertain situations. Raisina dialogue galvanized an entire bandwagon of ideas. Its five main pillars were not only innovative but also inclusive of nearly all pertinent issues of the world politics.

The first pillar, Neo insurgence: Geographies, Domains, Ambitions talked about political upheavals of transnational nature that may ‘destabilize borderless’ advances of international community. It demonstrated an urge for a shared response for this challenge. The second pillar, Amoral Mosaic: Contest, Cooperate or Cancel, talked about inefficiency of global governance model presented by World Bank, IMF etc. Therefore, India pitched an idea of a new global system that can be orchestrated by the forum of G20.

The third pillar of the conference, Chaotic Codes: Sovereignty, Security and Society contemplated the challenges of the transcended domain of the digital world and questioned that whether the existing legal system holds the capacity to handle the cybercrimes? Or a new legal structure on global level should be introduced. The fourth pillar, Pernicious Passports, Climate Common Citizens, called for a shared responsibility of the states, belonging from both global north and global south to work together and address challenges posed by climate change, poverty and pandemics.

The fifth and last pillar of the international conference, Grey Rhinos: Democracies, Dependencies and Debt Traps, projected a negative connotation for Mega projects of global players in peripheral countries. It gave an impression that mega projects of global players undermine the ability of sovereign decision making ofa recipient or host countries. Also a referral to debt trap was made. It was aimed at undermining the mega project of Belt and Road initiative of China which calls for common good of all.

Under the above mentioned themes, there were subsequent panel discussions, dinner discussions, podcasts and one on one conversations. Six publications including monographs and reports were launched during the discussions. On all three days, several sessions were conducted at a time, on variety of places. Topics ranging from the US internal political troubles to Latin America’s shift to the left orientation of politics, from creating an eco-system for startups to conflict in Ukraine and Russian ambitions, from emerging opportunities of alliances in Mediterranean and Arabian sea to alliances like Quad, I2U2, Bricks, Bimstecwere thoroughly discussed. India also presented itself as a proponent of mutual good for South Asian countries. In a session, The Double Engine of Growth: India, Bangladesh, BIMSTEC, an idea of India-Bangladesh partnership for an ‘entrepreneur led economy’, was presented. Aiming at setting a development agenda for the entire region, a term of ‘double engine partnership’ was coined for it.

India also projected itself as a leader in climate protection. In a session on The India Light House: Piped Water to all, India’s water story was presented as a learning lesson for other counties. In another session it was also stressed that LiFE measures (Life Style for Environment) should be disseminated around the globe. Pakistan, as usual was presented in the context of terrorism and world’s attention was drawn to address the issue impartially. The United Nations role was also criticized as it could not stop war and is unable to address concerns of smaller states.

Interestingly, India’s relations with the US were also discussed by keeping in view both pros and cons of the partnership. It was conveyed that India is mindful of its interests, it shall devise its course keeping its own national interest above all partnerships. Probable conflict of China over Taiwan also came under discussion and a suggestion of collective response from likeminded countries was propelled.

The most significant part of the dialogue concerned economic engagements. In a session New Frontiers: Linking India, Europe and the rest of the World, the probability of expanding India’s new-age agreements to Canada and European Union was discussed. It has already signed agreements with ASEAN, UAE, Australia, Japan and South Korea. The possibility of transitioning multilateral and bilateral trade engagements into strategic partnership, was also explored.

Raisina dialogue was organized by Observers Research Foundation, a well reputed think tank of India, in collaboration with Ministry of External Affairs of India. The advent and management of Raisina dialogue was supported by diverse partners, like government of Australia, government of UK, Macarthur Foundation, Konrad Adeneur Stiftung, Japan Bank of International Cooperation, UNDP, Meta, Bill and Malinda Foundation, Shell, Global Trade Observer, YouTube, etc.

Speakers from around the globe participated in the dialogue. Other than inviting speakers from global players like the US, UK, France, Germany, Australia, Japan, China, Canada, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Republic of Korea and European nations, speakers from Latin American countries, Mauritius, Algeria, Rwanda, New Guinea, Armenia, Ghana, Oman, Slovenia, Egypt, Morocco, Slovak Republic, were also given a chance to voice their concerns. Speakers from South Asian countries like Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Bangladesh also participated. It was indeed a global moot, a platform to discusses the global issues.

Despite having numerous problems at home in India, where dissent is silenced, the judiciary losing its trust in public, turbulent region of Jammu and Kashmir, rampant unemployment. farmer’s protests against G20 summit, Indian government managed to hold a successful global show. It not only presented itself as a torchbearer in devising solution oriented approach to the existing problems, but also as an economic centre of the world, where all-inclusive economic activity can take place in a conducive manner. India is going global. The question arises, where do we stand?

—The writer is research analyst at Institute of Regional Studies.