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: September 23, 2021

Recent projects

India and the SCO  in the 21st Century Courtesy: Gateway House
12 November 2020 Gateway House

India and the SCO in the 21st Century

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.
Rajiv Bhatia_Image Courtesy: Gateway House
12 November 2020 Gateway House

India-SCO: New Platform, Common Ground

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.
shutterstock_1787861693 Courtesy: Shutterstock
21 October 2020 Asia Pacific Bulletin, East-West Center, Washington, DC

Riparian Governance in South Asia

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.
India&MyanmarFinal Courtesy: Ministry of External Affairs
7 October 2020 Times of India

Consolidating the Myanmar partnership

The visit of Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and COAS Gen. MM Naravane to Myanmar on October 4-5 will advance this vital relationship at a critical time. As the region’s geopolitics change, India’s Neighbourhood First and Act East policy and Myanmar’s deep-seated instinct for a balanced and independent foreign policy, must ensure that the two countries journey together as companion souls.
shutterstock_1049895998 Courtesy: Shutterstock
10 September 2020 Gateway House

India and Asean in a VUCA world

Ambassador Rajiv Bhatia, Distinguished Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies Programme, Gateway House delivered the opening remarks at the 2020 Asia Economic and Entrepreneurship Summit, in the lead-up to the session, - The Future of Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation in a Sustainable VUCA World – What to Expect? What Next? The Summit was jointly organised by the KSI Strategic Institute for Asia Pacific (KSI), The Pacific Basin Economic Council (PBEC) and China Daily Asia Pacific (CD), Kuala Lumpur, 8 September 2020.
35830442835_e9239714cf_c Courtesy: MEA/Flickr
20 August 2020 Gateway House

India-Mexico: new strategic partnership?

India and Mexico will both be non-permanent members at the UNSC for 2021-22. Although located on different sides of the globe, culturally, the two countries share more in common than expected. As fellow non-permanent members of the UN Security Council as well as pro-active members of G20, the two countries need to intensify their mutual dialogue and cooperation on how to overcome the current weakening and impasse in the multilateral system.
RB_1 Courtesy: B20 Saudi Arabia/Twitter
23 July 2020 Gateway House

The B20: Riyadh and beyond

The COVID crisis compelled a change in the Business20 (B20) focus areas to reviving health, health facilities and business activity in 2020. India must start work now to give the B20 even greater responsiveness and relevance as the prospective G20 chair in 2022.
QUAD Courtesy: Shutterstock/Gateway House
18 June 2020 Gateway House

Quad, China and the Indo-Pacific churn

China’s escalating actions in the wake of the COVID-19 catastrophe is a calculated strategic diversion and risk. In the Indo-Pacific, tensions between China and the U.S., Australia, India and others are building momentum. As a geopolitical partnership, the relevance of the Quad is now proven. There are clear ways to empower it immediately, and make it a resilient grouping.