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 theChair 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
After many early achievements, BRICS is now in gridlock, made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic, India-China border tensions, and the Ukraine conflict. Despite its apparent diplomatic bankruptcy, 19 countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America are eagerly waiting in line to join the grouping.
In this era of multiple crises eroding multilateral institutions, G20 needs to come out clearly in favour of an expanded, more democratic, more representative, and more accountable UNSC. Shifting from a bottom-up to a top-down approach, G20 leaders should consider incorporating a calibrated but forward-looking paragraph on UNSC reform in the Delhi Declaration.
India’s Northeast is developing and getting close to its goal of being part of the Indian mainstream in connectivity and business – which is also critical for the success of India’s Act East Policy. For both goals, Bangladesh and Japan are invaluable partners and friends. The troika’s collaboration can be a model in the region.
V. Srinivas’ survey of the G20 and India’s road to its presidency is a reader-friendly and informative work that bridges the information gap and offers an insightful scholarly analysis of the multilateral.
The G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting on March 1-2 concluded without a joint statement, much like the finance ministers meeting which preceded it. Nevertheless, the platform has made some progress. To maintain it, Indian diplomacy must now move into overdrive in the run-up to the Leaders’ Summit later this year.
Courtesy: United Nations Economic Commission for Africa
The Indo-Pacific is viewed by powers within and outside the region as both a strategy and policy to interpret the changing geopolitical dynamics in Asia and beyond. But the question of its geographical and geopolitical definition has varied. Opinions among governments and academics have traditionally differed, but over the years, a viable consensus for a wider definition of the concept seems to have emerged.
Canada is committed to playing a larger role in the Indo-Pacific and has adopted a pragmatic approach to achieving its five objectives. These are promoting peace and security; expanding trade; connecting people; building a sustainable and green future; with Canada serving as an active partner in the Indo-Pacific. India will do well to understand Canada's compulsions and work with it with enthusiasm.
February 1, 2023 marks the second anniversary of the military coup in Myanmar. The country is now in a dire situation with a deteriorating economy, rising poverty and high unemployment. ASEAN, the UN and India continue to work with the Myanmarese military leadership, which is the only player able to provide solutions to alleviate the distress.
On 17-18 January, 2023, Rajiv Bhatia, Distinguished Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies Programme, Gateway House participated in the 14th South Asia Conference on the theme “Think20@G20: Towards a Resilient South Asia” hosted by Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses in New Delhi. Amb. Bhatia suggests that in due course, BIMSTEC should be given the status of a permanent guest in G20.
While India must do justice to its diverse responsibilities as steward to the G20, it has a special duty and priority: to advance the Africa agenda while serving as a powerful bridge between the developed and developing parts of the world.