A serious stocktaking is expected at the ongoing Quad Leaders' Summit in Tokyo, to measure the progress of its wide-ranging list and proposals. In addition to vaccine partnerships, climate change and connectivity, the Quad must now craft a common strategy for, and expedite cooperation in, the economy, higher education, industry, and technology. It will also project unity in the Indo-Pacific region.
Distinguished Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies Programme
Ambassador Rajiv Bhatia is Distinguished Fellow, Foreign Studies Programme at Gateway House. He is a member of CII’s International Advisory Council, Trade Policy Council and Africa Committee. He is the Chair of FICCI’s Task Force on Blue Economy, and served as Chair of Core Group of Experts on BIMSTEC. He is a founding member of the Kalinga International Foundation and a member of the governing council of Asian Confluence. As Director General of the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) from 2012-15, he played a key role in strengthening India's Track-II research and outreach activities. During a 37-year innings in the Indian Foreign Service (IFS), he served as Ambassador to Myanmar and Mexico and as High Commissioner to Kenya, South Africa and Lesotho. He dealt with a part of South Asia, while posted as Joint Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs. A prolific columnist, he is also a regular speaker on foreign policy and diplomacy in India and abroad. He was Senior Visiting Research Fellow during 2011-13 at the Institute of South East Asian Studies (ISEAS), Singapore. He holds a master’s degree in political science from Allahabad University. His first book India in Global Affairs: Perspectives from Sapru House (KW Publishers, 2015) presented a sober and insightful view of India’s contemporary foreign policy. His second book, India-Myanmar Relations: Changing contours (Routledge 2016) received critical acclaim. His third book, India-Africa Relations: Changing Horizons (Routledge 2022) has also been receiving positive reviews.
Foreign Policy, Quad & Indo-Pacific, South & South-East Asia, Africa, Blue Economy
Last modified: May 24, 2022
The BIMSTEC charter has laid the foundations for a prosperous, peaceful, and sustainable Bay of Bengal region, a goal that can be achieved by greater integration and deeper collaboration. While ensuring continuity with past efforts and strengthening economic cooperation is necessary, it must also realise its potential in newer areas such as the blue economy, which has three interlinked pillars— connectivity, prosperity, and regional stability.
On May 6, 2022, Amb. Rajiv Bhatia presented his remarks at the BRICS Think Tank Symposium held in Chongqing, China. Ambassador Bhatia traced the Ukrainian war crisis and its linkage to the grouping, while also elucidating that the Sino-Indian stalemate on transboundary disputes, UNSC membership permanency and leadership within the global south has harmed effective resolutions in the multilateral forum.
Africa as a zone of Sino-Indian contestation has intensified in the COVID era, where both countries extended support to the continent in diverse sectors of human security. Africa needs capacity, and building it means it will not make a choice between India and China, but it will prioritise its own needs and select separately what it needs from both countries
India has done considerable groundwork to turn into a blue economy nation through its maritime policies and active support of the Indian Ocean Rim Association. The time is right for the country to now focus on blue diplomacy, with an emphasis on maritime security and sustainable, equitable harnessing of maritime resources.
The Sino-U.S. contestation is a central tenet of the Indo-Pacific. In this power tussle, the EU strategy for the region provides a new way to engage with partners in the "Third Space" for a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific.
The recently concluded BIMSTEC summit is now a regional intergovernmental organization with a formal charter, giving it a clear mission and legality and a destiny linked to South and South East Asia. It is now better equipped to accelerate economic development for the fifth of the world’s population, which contributes only 4% of global GDP.