India pulled off a strategic victory at the three-day Raisina Dialogue that concluded on April 27 by making it clear that it would engage the world on the basis of its confidence in its identity rather than trying to please the global community as their “pale imitation”.
Amid increasing Western pressure on the country to oppose the Russian invasion of Ukraine, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar bluntly enunciated the core principle of India’s foreign policy approach – India at 75 needs to put behind the idea that it needs the approval of other countries and look after its national interests first.
With a number of European foreign ministers, diplomats, and foreign affairs experts in attendance and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is the Chief Guest of the inaugural session of ‘The Raisina Dialogue, a multilateral conference on the most pressing geopolitical and geo-economic issues, Indo-European ties remained one of the most important topics of the summit.
The conference largely revolved around the measures tipped to strengthen relations between India and EU. Both sides discussed expanding trade, investments, and other issues of importance.
In between, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and EU Commission President von der Leyen agreed to institute the EU-India Trade and Technology Council. This is a novel step toward strengthening economic and technological ties between India and the EU to bring the two sides closed in the medium term for the benefit of both economies.
The Council is meant to tackle key trade, economic and technological challenges. As like-minded partners, the European Union and India will be working on several fronts considering the present and future challenges. Both sides have also launched negotiations on a free trade agreement as well as on investment protection and geographical indications.
On this occasion, von der Leyen said, for Europe, this is a strategic investment in our partnership with India. The EU-India Trade and Technology Council will bring new technologies, new investment, and unprecedented integration into shared value chains. Both sides also discussed the challenges confronting them including climate change and energy security.
The way energy demand in India has doubled since 2000, over the next 20 years, India will need an additional energy capacity that is equal to the entire European energy consumption. PM Modi has already declared that India will be energy-independent before it celebrates the 100th birthday of the country’s independence.
The EU is already India’s third-largest trading partner. EU accounts for 11.1% of the total Indian trade of India, after China with 12% and the US with 11.7%. With 14% of the total exports, the EU is the second-largest destination for Indian exports after the USA. The trade between India and the EU is growing at a good rate. In the last decade, trade in goods between them increased by 12.5%. Similarly, trade in services between the EU and India reached €32.7 billion in 2020.
Some 6,000 European companies are present in India, providing directly 1.7 million jobs and indirectly 5 million jobs in a broad range of sectors. The efforts by both sides are aimed to contribute to unlocking the untapped potential of two-way trade between the EU and India.
The European Commission Chairman clearly said that strengthening and energizing partnership with India is a priority in this upcoming decade. EU Commission president hugely admired Indian democratic processes and traditions. India and the European Union share fundamental values and common interests.
India’s premier foreign policy conference— ‘The Raisina Dialogue’— proved to be a huge opportunity for those interested in a wide range of geopolitical and geo-economic issues confronting the global community. More than 290 thought leaders from 90 counties participated in this mega event this year held in New Delhi.
India will always stand for a truly rules-based international order, but one where rules cannot be short-circuited by anyone to suit the purpose of the mighty.
Raisina Dialogue – 2022
1. The 7th Edition of the Raisina Dialogue was inaugurated on 25 April. The Dialogue will be held in an in-person format over three days, 25-27 April 2022.
2. The Raisina Dialogue is India’s flagship conference on geopolitics and geoeconomics, held annually since 2016. It is organized by the Ministry of External Affairs in collaboration with the Observer Research Foundation (ORF).
3. Last year, the Dialogue was held in a virtual format due to exceptional circumstances necessitated by the Covid-19 pandemic. This year, the Dialogue is being held in an ‘in-person’ format. The organizers have taken all necessary measures to adhere to Covid-19 health protocols to ensure the safe conduct of the Dialogue.
4. Prime Minister of India inaugurated the Dialogue on 25 April. President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, joined the Inaugural Session as Chief Guest.
5. The theme for the 2022 Edition is “Terra Nova: Impassioned, Impatient, and Imperilled”. Over the course of three days, the Dialogue, will have panel discussions and conversations across multiple formats on six thematic pillars –
(i) Rethinking Democracy: Trade, Tech, and Ideology
(ii) End of Multilateralism: A Networked Global Order?
(iii) Water Caucuses: Turbulent Tides in the Indo-Pacific
(iv) Communities Inc.: First Responders to Health, Development, and Planet
(v) Achieving Green Transitions: Common Imperative, Diverging Realities
(vi) Samson vs Goliath: The Persistent and Relentless Tech Wars
6. This year, Raisina Dialogue side-events will be hosted in Berlin and Washington D.C. The Raisina Young Fellows program will also be conducted on the sidelines of the main conference.
7. The event will also see the presence of Carl Bildt, Former Prime Minister of Sweden, Stephen Harper, Former Prime Minister of Canada, Mohamed Nasheed, Former President of Maldives, and Anthony Abbott, Former Prime Minister of Australia. Abdulla Shahid, President of the United Nations General Assembly will deliver a pre-recorded address. Foreign Ministers of Argentina, Armenia, Australia (online) Guyana, Nigeria, Norway, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Netherlands, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, and Slovenia will also participate.
8. The 2022 Edition conducted over 100 sessions with over 210 speakers from more than 90 countries and multilateral organizations. A large audience joined the Dialogue across various social media platforms.
9. In the past seven years, the Raisina Dialogue has grown in stature and profile to emerge as a leading global conference on international affairs. It attracts prominent thought leaders from the global strategic and policy-making community to discuss key geopolitical developments and strategic issues facing the world.