On Jan 16, India will roll out its Covid-19 vaccination programme, the world’s largest. It puts India in the exclusive club of the V-5 anti-Corona vaccine producers, providing an opportunity for the country to scale up its pharma ecosystem and become a net provider of global health security.
Distinguished Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies Programme
Ambassador Rajiv Bhatia is a Distinguished Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies Programme at Gateway House. He is a member of CII’s two bodies: International Trade Policy Council and Africa Committee. He served as Chair of FICCI’s Core Group of Experts on BIMSTEC and continues to head its Task Force on the Blue Economy. He is a founding member of the Kalinga International Foundation. 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 and South Africa. He dealt with a part of South Asia, while posted as Joint Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs. A prolific columnist, who has also written a critically acclaimed book, India-Myanmar Relations: Changing Contours (Routledge), he is a frequent speaker on foreign policy issues 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.
Indo-Pacific (including SEA), Africa, South Asia, Myanmar, Blue Economy, Regional Groupings, Indian Foreign Policy and Diplomacy
Last modified: January 18, 2021
As 2021 opens, the post-COVID world can expect some changes in the geopolitics of Asia. It will involve altering equations in the Indo-Pacific among major, middle and small powers. These will fluctuate with characteristic familiarity, creating instability, tensions and strife, but not leading to military conflict – barring an unforeseen accident. Post-COVID, the world will be uncertain and complex.
India hosted the SCO summit on 30 November. Fueling its diplomatic drive is the region’s strategic importance and an enhancced focus on Central Asia with its strong civilizational, cultural and emotional bonds with India. Despite the daunting regional challenges, old and new, a seat at the SCO table strengthens India's hand in shaping the grouping’s - and region’s - future.
Saudi Arabia hosted the G20 Summit on 21-22 November, this year. A strategy to protect the global economy, which is the heart of the G20’s existence, was reflected in the updated G20 Action Plan, a clear by-product of the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. Beyond the immediate, is the plan for a resilient and long-lasting recovery.
India will be hosting the Heads of Government Summit of the SCO on 30 November -the first time as host to a major SCO meeting, which it joined as a full member in 2017. The goal will be to connect the past of Central Asia and India to their present and future. The sweep of medieval history will then join the 21st century to bring prosperity to both regions.
Geopolitical shifts during the Covid-era is justifying a closer convergence of national perspectives between India and Canada. It remains now to align the bilateral’s common interests and values, with common goals.
The 20th meeting of the Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Heads of States was held virtually on 10th November, 2020. The meeting precedes the SCO Summit to be hosted by India at the end of this month, and for which preparations have been on through the year. In this compendium of three essays, Gateway House assesses the potential for deepening economic cooperation between India & SCO, asks whether the SCO Charter needs dynamism and revision, and traces the roots of the regions's Buddhist presence, back to India.
India will host the 19th meeting of the Council of Heads of Government on 30 November 2020. This will be the first meeting of the grouping’s second highest organ, hosted by India. The significance of the event lies in the timing – India’s relations with two fellow memberstates, China and Pakistan, are at an exceptionally low ebb; yet the clear message from the SCO Secretariat and other member-states is: India’s presence in the SCO is highly beneficial to the latter and should be fully leveraged to strengthen it as an important and upcoming intergovernmental organisation. This necessitates a fresh appraisal of options for India.
Now that the India-U.S. 2+2 meeting has ended, Indian officials are preparing for a hectic season of summiteering in November, from the SCO to the BRICS and the G20. All will give India global attention, and help the country prepare its positioning at home and abroad.
The record of regional cooperation on rivers since India's independence in 1947 is one of several successes, with some contestations. In contrast to the past when governments strove to divide and share river waters, the endeavor has now shifted to thinking about comprehensive river basin development which makes the process even more complex. India’s policy on transboundary river governance must now also be aware of the increasing importance of Indo-Pacific in the global geopolitics.