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.
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: February 2, 2023
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.
The recent Voice of the Global South Summit in New Delhi attracted 125 developing countries, and some tangible outcomes for India to carry to its G20 presidency agenda. It showed India's equity to be intact, despite a perception that in the past decade, India has moved away from NAM and closer to the developed West.
India is currently hosting the Voice of Global South Summit, in which over 120 countries will participate. This is the time, as G20 chair, for India to articulate the concerns of the Global South. To truly represent the South, India must understand the moods and changes in Africa, especially in its external partnerships
2023 brings responsibility and opportunity for India. As the host of the G20 and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the world will be watching closely. With this authority, comes challenges encapsulated by five C’s: Covid, Contraction, Climate crisis, Conflict and China. If India is able to use its opportunity, the year could end with India viewed as a near-great power, an international bridge-builder, and a successful democracy.
India is geopolitically committed to a ‘free, open, inclusive, peaceful and prosperous’ Indo-Pacific. But unless these five adjectives are viewed and acted on with seriousness, via the country’s North East both developmentally and culturally, the country will be unable to take advantage of its regional proximity to the Indo-Pacific.