Rajiv Bhatia

Rajiv Bhatia

Distinguished Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies Programme

Ambassador Rajiv Bhatia is Distinguished Fellow, Foreign Policy 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. He is presently working on his third book which will deal with India-Africa relations.
Expertise

Indo-Pacific (including the Quad), Myanmar, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa, Blue Economy, Multilateral Groupings, Indian Foreign Policy and Diplomacy, including major power relations (U.S., China, EU, Russia and Japan).

Last modified: June 3, 2021

Recent projects

India, U.S., Four days of COVID Courtesy: Twitter| @usaid_india
13 May 2021 The Indian Express

India, U.S., & four days in COVID

In the past two weeks, the U.S. has been sending planeloads of aid to India. This is a welcome change from its previous hesitation, which turned around in four critical days. It reflects the importance of an effective Indian diaspora and of the Global Comprehensive Strategic Partnership with India.

bimstec needs to reinvent itself Courtesy: @MEAIndia | Twitter
14 April 2021 The Hindu

BIMSTEC needs to reinvent itself

The 17th Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) ministerial meeting was held on 1 April 2021. Though the grouping is ready to move forward, a number of obstacles stand in the way of this, including regional tensions, uncertainties surrounding SAARC and China's involvement in the multilateral. As BIMSTEC is to celebrate the silver jubilee of its formation next year, can it achieve its goal, to effect “a paradigm-shift in raising the level of cooperation and regional integration"?
learning from bangladesh Courtesy: Shutterstock
25 March 2021 The Indian Express

Learning from Bangladesh

This month marks the beginning of triple celebrations in Bangladesh, including the 50th anniversary of its independence, for which Prime Minister Modi will be traveling to Dhaka as the guest of honour. There is much to celebrate: A country that began as a case study for development is now on top of the global GDP charts. The springboard was achieved through a thriving textiles industry, women's workforce participation, micro finance, liberal investment policies. There is much to learn from this neighbour.
a giant leap forward for the quad Courtesy: The Hindu
17 March 2021 The Hindu

A giant leap forward for the Quad

The first-ever Quad Leaders' Summit on March 12, 2021 was a defining moment in Asian geopolitics, with the promise of a strong political commitment in the future. A joint op-ed by the Quad leaders stated a number of priorities for the grouping, ranging from security in the Indo-Pacific to climate change to vaccine partnerships. This is a crucial partnership for India, as this grouping of democracies will reinforce Indian diplomatic initiatives, launching the country into global relevance.
the quad comes of age Courtesy: Shutterstock
12 March 2021 The Indian Express

The Quad comes of age

In its recent itineration, the Quad (or the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue) has been toiling since 2017, through deliberations among mid-level and senior officials, to develop a common vision for the challenges facing the Indo-Pacific region, challenges caused by China's menacing rise and aggressive behaviour.
0001 (1) Courtesy: Gateway House
4 March 2021 Gateway House

Engagement of External Powers in Africa: Takeaways for India

As multiple foreign powers compete in Africa, there is a need to understand the geopolitical landscape, and analyse the various policies, strategies and motivations of each country. Where lies India in this great strategic game? India has a unique relationship with the continent, with respect for equality, mutual benefit, and need-based assistance. By deepening India-Africa cooperation, bolstering economic relations and leveraging new digital, space and medical technologies, the relationship between India and the African nations can be better cemented, despite the global competition at play.

myanmar Courtesy: Reuters
3 March 2021 Hindustan Times

Myanmar’s coup, India’s way forward

In principle, India supports democracy everywhere, but is also committed to non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries. But instability in Myanmar could trigger support for insurgency in India's North east, which is now on the path to progress. Accelerating the completion of India’s development cooperation projects in Myanmar will send a positive signal for regional stability.

India, IOR and blue economy Courtesy: Common Wealth
25 February 2021 Ministry of Defence

India, IOR and the blue economy

The Indian Ocean Region (IOR) presents a unique opportunity to develop a Blue Economy, with security, sustainability and business profitability as its three pillars. An IOR Defence Ministers' Conclave held on 4 February provided a platform to discuss regional cooperation, linking development with defence, and emphasized India's pivotal position within the IOR.
BIMSTEC: Potential and Opportunities Courtesy:
22 February 2021 Gateway House

BIMSTEC: Potential and Opportunities

During the Bay of Bengal Economic Dialogue 2021 on, Post-COVID Challenges in the Bay of Bengal Region, Amb. Rajiv Bhatia, Distinguished Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies, Gateway House addresses the staggered growth of BIMSTEC, whilst also highlighting its potential as a regional grouping. He identifies the lack of political commitment, bureaucratic inertia and insufficient engagement of the Third Space and disregard for the region as a community as the chief obstacles to a successful initiative.
Clouds over Quad Courtesy: Twitter
18 February 2021 Times of India

Clouds over the Quad?

As President Joe Biden completes his first month in office, his foreign policy on China and the Indo-Pacific will come under scrutiny. The choices made will be significant as they will define the future prospects of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue. Given China’s long-term and comprehensive challenges, which encompass both, security and economy-technology, the Quad will have to respond with a matching strategy.