Raisina dialogue in Delhi; US to have biggest presence

IDD Bureau 

Global leaders, including from the foreign policy, military, industry, and think-tanks  besides those in top political positions will be in attendance at the ‘Raisina Dialogue’, a multilateral conference discussing issues facing the world.

The three-day conference ‘Raisina2020’ (Jan 14 to Jan 16) is scheduled in New Delhi, India’s capital. Themed ‘21@20-negotiating alpha century’, it is the fifth- edition of an annual event backed by the India’s Ministry of External Affairs and hosted by Indian think-tank Observor Research Foundation (ORF).

The international community will have the biggest representation from the United States, a total of 31 in number, indicating a deepening relationship which aims to bring the two countries with similar goals on the same platform. Scope of India-US ties include long-term trade targets, energy supplies from the US, a firm strategic partnership besides a solid military alliance including inter-operability  of common military platforms.

The list, includes officials of the State Department, serving and retired military personnel, policy wonks, industry leaders and persons from thinks- tanks.

There will be military representatives of India, US, Japan and Australia, but assuming a ‘Quad’ kind-of scenario would be misplaced as the long invite list has serving and former Prime Minister’s of several countries like Sweden, Canada,  and New Zealand, among others. More  than 400 speakers from across the world would be in New Delhi.

Why the ‘Raisina’:  

It set the tone for the year and allows the government to state its position on various issues of international relations. Visiting experts get a idea of Indian government’s priorities in international relations. Young scholars get a chance to interact with policy makers.

The Dialogue is structured as a multi-stakeholder, cross-sectoral discussion, involving heads of state, cabinet ministers and local government officials, as well as major private sector executives, members of the media and academics.

The word ‘Raisina’ denotes power in New Delhi, the ‘Raisina Hill’ is a small hillock at the western-end of Rajpath, New Delhi’s central vista where the British, during their  rule, constructed the North Block and South Block in 1920’s. The Indian Government functions from these buildings.

US in the lead with numbers

Among those on the invite list as speakers from the US include Lisa Curtis Deputy Assistant to the President & Senior Director for South and Central Asia, National Security Council, United States,   S. Paul Kapur Policy Planning Staff – State Department, United States and  Peter Berkowitz Director, State Department Policy Planning Staff.

The Industry is well represented. Vivek Lall Vice President, Strategy & Business Development, Lockheed Martin, Jeremy Sturchio Vice President, Head of Government Relations, Asia Pacific, Visa Inc and Brian Fishman Global Head of Counter-Terrorism Policy, Facebook,are slated to speak. All three companies are also ‘partners’ in the ‘Raisina Dialogue’. Nisha Biswal President of the U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC) is also slotted as a speaker.

Admiral Phil Davidson Commander of United States Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM), will be the event so will be Chris Painter Commissioner, Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace, United States.

Former US Ambassador to India, Richard Verma, who is now Vice Chairman and Partner, The Asia Group is listed as a speaker and so is so General David Petraeus who is now Chairman, KKR Global Institute, United States.

The think-tanks are well represented. On the list are:  Klon Kitchen Senior Fellow, Technology & National Security, Heritage Foundation, Lindsey Sheppard Fellow, International Security Program, CSIS,    Amy Searight Senior Adviser and Director, Southeast Asia Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Emerson Brookings Resident Fellow, Atlantic Council, United States, Thomas Lynch Ill Acting Director, Center for Strategic Research (CSR) & Distinguished Research Fellow, INSS-NDU, United States, Rafiq Dossani Director, RAND Center for Asia Pacific Policy, Jeff Smith Research Fellow, Heritage Foundation

The India Australia and Japan connect:

Media reports originating from Australia say that the Prime Minister Scott Morrison may not make the trip to India  owing to bushfires that are rampaging across his country. Among others from Australia are the Linda Reynolds Minister for Defence, Marise Payne Minister for Foreign Affairs, General Angus Campbell Chief of the Defence Force, and Frances Adamson Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The Japanese expected to be here are General Kōji Yamazaki Chief of Staff, Joint Staff of the Japan Self-Defense Forces, Japan, Kunihiko Miyake President, Foreign Policy Institute, Japan and Yuji Kato COO and CIO, Cool Japan Fund, Japan. The last three cover vital aspects of military , foreign policy and investment into India.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (2nd from left) and Erna Solberg , PM of Norway at the Raisina Dailogue 2019. A file pic

The list has some more well known names

Among others on the guest list are General Claudio Graziano Chairman, European Union Military Committee, Naledi Pandor Minister of Foreign Affairs, South Africa, Helen Clark Former Prime Minister, New Zealand, Commander Melissa Ross Deputy Chief, Royal New Zealand Navy, New Zealand, Alexander Gabuev Senior Fellow and Chair, Russia in the Asia-Pacific Program, Carnegie Moscow, Russia, Sergey Afontsev Professor, Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Russia, Andrey Bezrukov Associate Professor, Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Russia, Sergey Lavrov Foreign Minister, Russia,  Mohammad Javad Zarif Minister of Foreign Affairs, Iran, Hamid Karzai Former President, Afghanistan, Stephen Harper Former Prime Minister, Canada, Chunhao Lou, Deputy Director, CICIR, China, Wen Wang Executive Dean, Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, China,  Dingli Shen Professor, Fudan University, China.

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