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.
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Now that the India-U.S. 2+2 meeting has ended, Indian officials are preparing for a hectic season of summiteering in November, from the SCO to the BRICS and the G20. All will give India global attention, and help the country prepare its positioning at home and abroad.
The Space20 is the newest sub-forum of the G20 initiated by Saudi Arabia, with the support of the United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs. India, on its way to the G20 presidency in 2022, should set a comprehensive Space20 agenda for the democratization of outer space, whereby it can share its space growth story with the developing world and achieve its goal to become a global knowledge epicenter.
The UN turned 75 this year but instead of grand celebrations, the world witnessed an empty UNGA with world leaders addressing it via video screening because of the pandemic. The UN is under unprecedented stress and being shown up for its inability to tackle the challenges of today like the pandemics, climate change, terrorism or global peace and security. The institution's key governing structures, especially the UN Security Council, are inadequate and demand reform. India must now use gritty resolve to ensure its place in these governing structures.
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.
The Quad, a grouping of Indo-Pacific democracies, is more relevant than ever. It must now operationalise not just the military exchanges but also formalise economic and technology partnerships that will undergird a meaningful new multilateral, provide it with resilience and appeal in the Indo-Pacific region. In this Webcast, co-hosted by Gateway House and Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, the panelists discuss the need to reform Quad, which hosts the four leading global voices, in order for it to become the magnet that attracts like-minded nations, small and big cutting across continents and oceans to converge on the new world order realities.
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.
The jubilation displayed by many ASEAN countries on account of the Vietnam’s statement as chair of the 36th ASEAN Summit, referencing events in the South China Sea is belied by a sense of realism and caution. But the fact that more nations are speaking up is a good sign.
China’s dramatic political and economic rise over the past three decades has been well recorded. Less known is the effort of China's rural labourers and migrants, which has largely enriched the coastal elites, instead of creating the egalitarian, capitalist, society China espouses. Dexter Roberts’ book takes us deep into the story of China’s rise, and exposes this reality. Roberts chronicles the lives of the many rural folk he has met during two decades of work and travels in China. It gives the book a personal and compassionate note, with the authenticity of a hands-on China expert.
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.