Raisina Dialogue - From New Delhi to the World

Happenings

The Raisina Dialogue, attended by speakers from 40 countries, is being seen as the government’s attempt to rival conferences around the world that attract global players such as the Shangri-La dialogue in Singapore, and the Munich Conference on national security.

The Raisina Dialogue, a joint initiative of the Ministry of External Affairs and a think tank, Observer Research Foundation, kicked off in New Delhi on March 1, 2016.

Former Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga, former Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the Bangladesh Foreign Minister Mahmood Ali were amongst those who shared the stage with Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj at the opening session.

Accusing South Asian nations of lacking a common vision, former Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga said, “Shared cultures had succeeded in dividing us in our quest for a national identity as opposed to a regional identity. This has led to violent inter-state and intra-state conflicts, making South Asia one of the two most violent regions in the world.”

“The region could no longer tolerate state entities harbouring and supporting terror networks as policy. Afghanistan’s lack of access to India’s goods, services and markets needs to be addressed. This is not a utopian dream,” former Afghan President Hamid Karzai said.

While taking note of the concerns expressed by Karzai and Kumartunga, Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj said, “India’s growth is the world’s opportunity”.

“The current government, in 20 months in office, had earned the reputation of being a constructive player in the world arena, with a reputation for action oriented leadership,” Sushma Swaraj said.

Indian foreign minister referred to India’s growing engagement with South Asia and rest of Asia, and said that the increasing footprint of India’s diplomacy is discernible in the manner in which a decisive government has been engaging with the world.

Sushma Swaraj and her Bangladesh counterpart Mahboob Ali spoke of the importance of building road and rail connectivity through the ‘BBIN’ grouping of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal.

“If we are able to achieve this vision of connectivity, Asia-Pacific would account for half the world’s output,” Bangladesh foreign minister said.

The Raisina Dialogue, attended by speakers from 40 countries, is being seen as the government’s attempt to rival conferences around the world that attract global players such as the Shangri-La dialogue in Singapore, and the Munich Conference on national security.

Former Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga urged for a more positive view of China’s role in the region, saying that all countries could benefit from doing business with China. “Could we not see Chinese economic power as an opportunity rather than a threat?” Ms. Kumaratunga asked, referring obliquely to concerns in India over projects built by China in Sri Lanka, especially the Colombo port project that was stalled temporarily in 2015.

Former Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai also pitched for a greater role for Chinese investment.

The Raisina Dialogue is premeditated to explore prospects and opportunities for Asian integration and Asia’s integration with the bigger world. The 2016 caucus will focus on Asia’s physical, economic, digital connectivity and development of common global spaces with an emphasis on Asia.

The Raisina Dialogue is envisioned as a multi-stakeholder, cross-sectoral meeting involving policy and decision makers, including but not limited to Foreign, Defence and Finance Ministers of different countries, high-level government officials and policy practitioners, leading personalities from business and industry, and members of the strategic community, media and academia.

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Diplomatist Magazine was launched in October of 1996 as the signature magazine of L.B. Associates (Pvt) Ltd, a contract publishing house based in Noida, a satellite town of New Delhi, India, the National Capital.

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