Foreign Secretary’s Vimarsh Talk on "Global Rebalancing and India's Foreign Policy"
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In the series of Vimarsh public lectures delivered by eminent personalities, the VIF hosted an online talk by India’s Foreign Secretary, Shri Harsh V. Shringla on 30 June 2021. Dr Arvind Gupta, Director VIF, in his welcome address outlined how the world is heading towards complex multipolarity amidst increasingly challenging issues such as climate change; pandemics; trade and technology competition; the deepening of grey zone conflicts; rising inequalities; race for resources; air, land and maritime pollution; migrations; terrorism; food, energy and water security; public health; demographic transitions etc. The hope that a militarily and economically powerful China would be accommodated in the prevailing world order is also rapidly fading. Against this background, Dr Gupta emphasized the need for India’s foreign policy to become more innovative and agile and having sufficient diplomatic capacity and bandwidth to deal with today’s complex problems.

In his keynote address on “Global Rebalancing and India’s Foreign Policy”, the Foreign Secretary highlighted how the transition to a multipolar world has manifested doubts about the continuing relevance of the existing international structures and intellectual pillars to contemporary problems. Further, the ability of the current system to contain and prevent crises is visibly weak. Solutions to awhole new spectrum of sub-conventional security challenges are difficult to find within current systems. There is also a general acceptance that the world has not recovered from the consequences of the 2008 financial crisis. The challenge to an open economic order and slowdown in global trade is independent of and predates the pandemic induced slowdowns. The share of trade in global GDP has not grown in the last decade. Following the pandemic, global supply chains are now viewed as security vulnerabilities as they generate national dependencies and can be prone to crippling disruptions.

Within this milieu, Shri Shringla defined the five pillars that exemplify the new emerging strands of Indian foreign policy. The first pillar is that it is Indian in thought. The tradition of the Middle Path, the need for strategic autonomy or of being ‘atmanirbhar’ and emphasis on human-centric globalisation, allreflect in India’s strategic and political behaviour. The second pillar of Indian diplomacy is its multi-polar focus. India’s relations with major powers have attained comprehensive strategic levels while maintaining strategic autonomy. However, the rise of China and our proximity brings its own implications. There is also an added dimension to reforming multilateral systems; bringing a comprehensive approach to international peace and security; and promoting technology with a human touch as a driver of solutions. The third pillar of Indian diplomacy is its actions as an international force multiplier for the Government. India’s diplomatic posts worked with multiple stakeholders on the Vande Bharat Mission to evacuate stranded Indians as international travel closed for the larger part of 2020. The Ministry of External Affairs was also an integral part of the Government of India’s Empowered Group system to procure essential medical supplies for COVID-19. The fourth pillar of Indian diplomacy is to be a force for global good. Indian development partnership is a full spectrum operation with a presence in Asia, Africa, South America and in the Pacific. India has also made an enormous effort in improving the security situation in its neighbourhood and extended neighbourhood. The fifth pillar of Indian diplomacy looks to the future. India has shown strong commitment to climate action with energy at the centre of India’s ambition and agenda. Also, India’s record in creating and establishing international organisations such as the International Solar Alliance and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure with forward facing agendas speaks for itself.

Thereafter, there was an interactive session with vigorous participation by the audience.

Event Date 
June 30, 2021

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