The warning signs were visible long before the Ukraine conflict. Years of insufficient investment into oil and gas production resulted in high price, and shortages. With investors keeping away from traditional fuels, the conflict in Ukraine precipitated the inevitable. Energy-dependent India must now insulate its supply chains.
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A serious stocktaking is expected at the Quad Leaders' Summit in Tokyo, to measure the progress of its wide-ranging list and proposals. In addition to vaccine partnerships, climate change, and connectivity, the Quad must now craft a common strategy for and expedite cooperation in, the economy, higher education, industry, and technology. It will also project unity in the Indo-Pacific region.
With mass digitisation, India has proved that technology is not just for the educated, privileged, and wealthy. The country's open and secure digital public platforms can be significant for the Indo-Pacific, the world's most data-rich region. The Indian model is applicable because it is open-source, interoperable, auditable, and enshrines individual rights, ownership, and empowerment.
The BIMSTEC charter has laid the foundations for a prosperous, peaceful, and sustainable Bay of Bengal region, a goal that can be achieved by greater integration and deeper collaboration. While ensuring continuity with past efforts and strengthening economic cooperation is necessary, it must also realise its potential in newer areas such as the blue economy, which has three interlinked pillars— connectivity, prosperity, and regional stability.
The recently concluded ASEAN-U.S. Summit has raised the bilateral cooperation to a strategic comprehensive partnership. Key areas of cooperation were identified and global health, SDGs, maritime security and connectivity, and the Ukrainian war dominated the dialogue. The meeting is significant in light of the May 24 Quad Summit, where it is important for the US to have its engagement with ASEAN visible.
On May 6, 2022, Amb. Rajiv Bhatia presented his remarks at the BRICS Think Tank Symposium held in Chongqing, China. Ambassador Bhatia traced the Ukrainian war crisis and its linkage to the grouping, while also elucidating that the Sino-Indian stalemate on transboundary disputes, UNSC membership permanency and leadership within the global south has harmed effective resolutions in the multilateral forum.
The rejuvenated BIMSTEC, with a new charter in hand, is now expanding its ambition and mission. One such area is climate change, which needs greater attention as it will have implications for the Bay of Bengal and beyond. With their unique climate conditions and action plans can together create a model for regional cooperation.
Africa as a zone of Sino-Indian contestation has intensified in the COVID era, where both countries extended support to the continent in diverse sectors of human security. Africa needs capacity, and building it means it will not make a choice between India and China, but it will prioritise its own needs and select separately what it needs from both countries
The strength and trust in the India-FRANCE bilateral was evident during the May 4th visit of Prime Minister Modi to Paris. Beyond the difficult discussions on multilateral issues, the partnership has been deepened in several key areas of cooperation, from defence to education, climate, energy, digitalisation and technical collaboration. Energy and digitalisation are two particularly bright spots for future collaboration.
The signing of the Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement between India and Australia in April, shows how well Australia has understood its new economic partner. In this special podcast, Lisa Singh, CEO, Australia-India Institute, and Manjeet Kripalani, Executive Director, Gateway House, have a wide ranging discussion on areas of strategic cooperation from trade, digital governance, connectivity and maritime security, to multilateral engagement in G20 and the Quad.