FRANKFURT SCHOOL

BLOG

A changing global landscape: Three observations from the Raisina Dialogue in Delhi
Research & Advisory / 26 April 2023
  • Share

  • 1029

  • 0

  • Print
Director Corporate Development
Dr. Matthias Catón is Frankfurt School's Director of Corporate Development. He and his team are responsible for developing and implementing the school’s overall strategy. He runs the Indo-German Centre for Business Excellence as its Deputy Chairman and Executive Director, and leads our Office of Learning Innovation. A political scientist by training, he has held international positions in various organizations, including academia, an intergovernmental organization, and the World Economic Forum.

To Author's Page

More Blog Posts
Geopolitics for Organizations – tools to navigate a challenging world
What is a convertible note and how does it work?
Studying the Spread of Knowledge: Social Epistemology and Computational Modelling

I recently attended the Raisina Dialogue in Delhi, one of the world’s leading conferences on geopolitics and geoeconomics, organised by the Observer Research Foundation under its president Samir Saran. This year’s participants were of exceptionally high calibre, given that it coincided with the G20 Foreign Minister meeting, which took place in the same venue, New Delhi’s iconic Taj Palace Hotel.

Several foreign ministers stayed on and appeared on conference panels, such as the US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, Russia’s Sergei Lavrov, Mélanie Joly from Canada and Josep Borrell, the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. And, of course, India’s own Foreign Minister, Subrahmanyam Jaishankar.

Here are my three key takeaways from the conference.

YouTube

By loading the video, you agree to YouTube’s privacy policy.
Learn more

Load video

India is brimming with confidence

The country’s political and business elite is acutely aware of its new heft as the soon-to-be largest country in the world. Solid economic growth (predicted to be the highest this year among major economies) and a pivotal geostrategic role in the Indo-Pacific make India a new heavyweight on the international scene. A steady influx of visiting heads of government and senior ministers in the past couple of months was a testimony to that. The fact that India chairs the G20 this year only adds to this impression. When arriving in Delhi, it’s impossible to ignore it. The entire city is plastered with G20 posters.

The Global South has a different perspective on Ukraine

There was a lot of talk about the divide between “the West and the Rest” or between developed countries and those in the “Global South”. While things are more complex and not black and white, it was notable that many countries outside established and developed democracies see things differently. Either they do not care much about the war and the outcome (other than being annoyed by secondary effects, such as surging food prices), or they even think Russia may have a point.

This was obvious in a special session featuring Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. What struck me was not the half hour of unhinged propaganda and blatant lies but the fact that a significant part of the audience was sympathetic towards him, applauding some of his comments (such as when he decried alleged Western hypocrisy) and laughing about his quips.

China was the elephant in the room

Although hardly anyone from China attended, China was present in almost all conversations in one way or another. India and China are long-time adversaries and the rising tensions between China and the West were much discussed. A session on the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue between the United States, Australia, India and Japan, commonly known as the Quad, featured the foreign ministers of all four countries. Plenty of top-level military officers appeared on panels, including the Australian Chief of Defense Force General Angus J. Campbell, his Indian counterpart General Anil Chauhan and Admiral John C. Aquilino, the Commander of the US Indo-Pacific Command.

Contrary to the war in Ukraine, when it comes to China, Western countries and India are much more aligned, which could lead to the conclusion that the relationship is like a Facebook status – “it’s complicated”.

Outlook

The motto of this year’s Raisina Dialogue was “Provocation, Uncertainty, Turbulence – A Lighthouse in the Tempest?” Although the organisers wisely added a question mark, one thing is clear: India’s importance in the world will continue to rise, and with it, the significance of a dialogue such as the Raisina Dialogue. Congratulations to Samir Saran and his team. I gained a lot of new insights and will certainly be back!

0 COMMENTS

Send