Social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook have come under global scrutiny in recent months following their use to incite or misinform the public. For years, governments around the democratic world have not taken the responsibility to adequately regulate these platforms. Now that may be changing – and it won’t be easy.
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On January 14, 2021, Gateway House co-hosted a webinar with Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung on G20’s future: Italy, Indonesia, India. The panel included Marco Felisati, B20 Sherpa, Italy, Dr. M Chatib Basri, Former Minister of Finance, Indonesia, and Sanjeev Sanyal, Principal Economic Advisor, Government of India.
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.
Vietnam had a busy 2020, starting with its chairmanship of ASEAN and ending with the signing of RCEP, and a free trade agreement with the EU. All were completed successfully despite the pandemic, which it also handled well. It has revealed Vietnam’s dexterity and confidence, good management and societal control and raised the country’s global profile.
India's presence in the UNSC in 2021 provides a unique opportunity to bring India’s capacities and performance to global notice. It will be on the inside track for critical issues like the election of a new UN Secretary General, and defining global issues like the Corona pandemic and climate change, but must also use its position to prioritise counter terrorism and maritime security, especially with Chinese expansionism in the Indo-Pacific.
India’s pledge to the Paris Agreement gives it the flexibility to confidently place its climate action policies across various multilaterals. Although an observer of the Arctic Council, India can collaborate with the body's upcoming chair, Russia, to alleviate climate change concerns stemming from the Arctic. It is time for India to use its goodwill with the Arctic Council members to develop a national Arctic policy.
Australia's much-awaited inclusion at the Malabar Exercise-2020 reflects a hard reset in India's foreign policy that was traditionally accommodative to Chinese concerns on the militarisation of the Quad. In the backdrop of the on-going stand-off with China at the Ladakh border, the Indian Navy has maintained a high operational tempo and deployed the highest numbers of frontline assets during this edition of the Malabar Exercise. India must build on this strategic vision and work towards including France at the next edition of Malabar in 2021.
The recently concluded ASEAN and EAS Summit saw Prime Minister Modi highlighting the Indo-Pacific region. That’s because a cohesive, responsive and prosperous ASEAN is seen as vital to India's Indo-Pacific Vision and to Security And Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR). India’s decision to opt out of RCEP, even when all ASEAN member countries are signatories to that agreement, will mark a shift in how India enhances bilateral engagements with ASEAN nations with greater strategic intent.
The India-Italy bilateral is looking up again, after a hiatus. A digital summit of the two leaders was held on 6 November 2020, and assumes greater significance in light of the pandemic, and Italy’s upcoming presidency of the G20. The most promising outcome of this energetic diplomacy and summiteering, is that Italy is slowly being weaned away from its close economic embrace with China. Its trade and investment are unlikely to decouple soon, but Italy is now more in line with the EU initiatives on 5G and quality infrastructure - the right time for Italy and India to derive advantage from it.
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.