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Monthly Compilation of Views of VIF Expert Groups: May 2021

In May 2021 six experts group discussions were organised by the Vivekananda International Foundation through webinar on events and topics affecting India’s interests worldwide. The diversity of the expertise of each of the members of the expert groups brought rich flavour and knowledge on the topic through their varied professional backgrounds (military, diplomacy and academia). This issue contains reports of the West Asia, Indo-Pacific, Europe, Pakistan, China and US experts’ group discussions.

“India’s China Challenge: A Journey through China’s rise and what it means for India” by Ananth Krishnan, Harper Collins, 2021, pp.420, Price Rs. 599

No scholar following India-China relations in India or abroad can ever claim anonymity with Ananth Krishnan regarded as the most authentic interpreter of India-China relations for about decades as a correspondent filing despatches from mainland China. Reporting from China and that too on sensitive and delicate India-China relations and often at critical times is indeed quite a challenge.

Quagmire in Lebanon: Between Domestic Mismanagement and External Interference

Lebanon in the current decade has witnessed pressing economic instability, political turmoil, large scale protests, and clashes with security officials, fires and explosion exposing the gross mismanagement and the incapacity of the present political structure. The political structure in Lebanon based on the confessional democratic model has resulted in corrupt and self-serving ruling elite that is responsible for its economic downturn and political instability.

Quad Plus Dialogue

The Quad Plus Dialogue is held every quarter, since 2013 and the Vivekananda International Foundation has been the designated think tank representing India since the inception of this dialogue. Apart from VIF, the other think tanks from Quad members include JII, Japan; Heritage Foundation, USA and ASPI, Australia. RSIS, Singapore and Chatham House, UK also attended the meeting as Quad Plus members. The meeting focussed on the review of recent developments with the Quad/Free and Open Indo-Pacific and recommendations for the Quad and Quad Plus Dialogue moving forward.

VIF-IISS Roundtable on the UK’s Integrated Review: Impact on relations with India

The United Kingdom released its “Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy” on 16 March 2021. Titled ‘Global Britain in a Competitive Age’, the document stands out for shaping the country’s post-Brexit foreign, defence, security and development priorities and policies. A notable aspect of the review is the UK’s foreign and security policy ‘tilt’ towards the Indo-Pacific region. China, India and Japan are recognised as the three most important powers in this region with widely differing characteristics and relationships with the UK.

Talk by H.E. Amb. Emmanuel Bonne

The Vivekananda International Foundation organised a virtual talk by H.E. Amb. Emmanuel Bonn, diplomatic Advisor and G7-G20 Sherpa to the French President on 7th January 2021. On a visit to India for the annual strategic dialogue between France and India, Amb. Bonne spoke on "France and India: Partners for a Stable and Prosperous Indo-Pacific" in his virtual discussion moderated by the VIF director, Dr. Arvind Gupta.

Strategic dialogue VIF-Australian National University

The Vivekananda International Foundation in collaboration with the Australian National University organised a virtual discussion on the emerging geopolitical trends and their implications on 4 November 2020. The opening remarks were made by VIF director, Dr. Arvind Gupta. This was followed by presentations from Professor Rory Medcalf, Amb. Arun K Singh, Dr. David Brewster, Amb. Anil Wadhwa and Mr. Brendan Thomas-Noone. The meeting focussed on the roundup of recently concluded Quad Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Tokyo and underscored its symbolic importance.

Monthly Compilation of Views of VIF Expert Groups: April 2021

In April six experts group discussions were organised by the Vivekananda International Foundation through webinar on events and topics affecting India’s interests worldwide. The diversity of the expertise of each of the members of the expert groups brought rich flavor and knowledge on the topic through their varied professional backgrounds (military, diplomacy and academia). This issue contains reports of the West Asia, Indo-Pacific, Europe, Pakistan, China and US experts’ group discussions.

China’s Nuclear and Missile Capabilities : An Overview

… creation of the theatre commands and the PLA’s emphasis on joint operations have catalysed the Rocket Force’s focus on jointness…. integrating Rocket Force units into dual-use missile systems and the possible collocation of conventional and nuclear missiles could create risks of unintentional escalation in a conflict ... more diverse and dispersed nuclear force could increase China’s confidence in the survivability of its second-strike capability, causing it to forego more assertive changes to its nuclear posture…

Joint VIF-Heritage Interaction on “Future Trajectory of Indo-US Relations”

The Vivekananda International Foundation and The Heritage Foundation, USA jointly organized a web-based interaction session to deliberate upon the future trajectory of Indo-US relationship in the post-COVID era. The discussion centered around three major themes: (i) US-China Decoupling and its Implications on the Global Economy; (ii) Impact of Covid-19 in further Enhancing the India-US Partnership in all fields; and (iii) US Concept of a Second Marshall Plan. While Dr. Arvind Gupta, Amb. Kanwal Sibal, Amb. Ashok Kantha and Amb. Arun K.

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