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Raisina Dialogue (13 April 2021)

Raisina Dialogue (13 April 2021)

Context:

  • The 6th Edition of the prestigious Raisina Dialogue started on Tuesday. Due to the ongoing Covid Pandemic, this edition is being held virtually from 13-16 April, 2021.

Background:

  • The name Raisina Dialogue comes from Raisina Hill.

  • It is an elevation in New Delhi, the seat of the Government of India and the Presidential Palace of India, Rashtrapati Bhavan.

Summary of the Debate

Key takeways:

  • It is being hosted by the think tank Observer Research Foundation (ORF) in partnership with the MEA.

  • The theme for the 2021 Edition is "#ViralWorld: Outbreaks, Outliers and Out of Control".

  • The talks will be held on 5 thematic pillars:

    • WHOse multilateralism? Reconstructing the UN and beyond

    • Securing and diversifying supply chains

    • Global ‘Public Bads’: Holding actors and nations to account

    • Infodemic: Navigating a ‘No-Truth’ world in the age of Big Brother

    • The Green stimulus: Investing in gender, growth, and development

  • The 6th edition of the dialogue will have 50 sessions with the participation of 150 speakers from 50 different countries as well as multilateral organisations.

  • The idea is to look at what has happened in the last year and contextualize it for the policy making community, for thinkers, for scholars, for people who are interested in the state of affairs in so far as the evolution of the global order is concerned.

Raisina Dialogue:

  • It is an annual multilateral conference on geopolitics and geoeconomics which is held every year in New Delhi, India.

  • The Ministry of External Affairs and the Observer Research Foundation have been jointly organizing it since 2016.

  • The Dialogue by India is structured on the lines of Shangri-La-Dialogue of Singapore.

  • Every year, global leaders in policy, business, media and civil society are hosted in New Delhi to discuss cooperation on a wide range of pertinent international policy matters.

Major Objectives of Raisina Dialogue:

  • To discuss broader foreign policy as well as strategic issues facing the world.

  • To explore future opportunities and advancement in integration of Asia with the world.

  • It asserts the India’s vital role in the Indian Ocean Region.

  • It also focuses on how India along with its partners can build a stable, regional and world order.

  • It addresses the most challenging issued faced by the global community.

Need for reforms in multilateral international institutions like United Nations:

  • During the initial phase of COVID-19, the world realized that the balance of power is changing and suddenly the existing institutions emerged out of textbooks into the real world.

  • For example, WHO that was not allowed or that could not provide the kind of multilateral leadership that was required because one particular country was molding WHO in a certain direction.

  • The World Health Organization was an organization nobody paid any attention to it. It just worked on its own, no journalist or scholar paid much attention to the WHO.

  • It was one of the UN organizations that was basically seen as purely technical and had no real International relations element to it and it's now suddenly come under the spotlight and is now the lead organization or the only real multilateral organization in terms of response to COVID and has therefore become highly politicized.

  • The world realized that the multilateral institutions is getting crushed from both sides, on the one side countries like the USA and even the Europeans, who were trying to look more and more inwards, less invested in these institutions that they had created in the first place and on the other countries like China were gaming the system.

  • So, the challenge is how do we think of global multilateralism in today's context where fragmentation is the reality, where questions about certain countries and their proclivity to game the system is becoming more and more pronounced.

  • So, countries like India believe in the role for multilateral institutions are certainly anxious and that was also reflective for example in Prime Minister's address to general assembly last year wherein he said that ‘How long can India 1.3 billion people wait for reforms in UN Security Council’.

  • India is trying to figure out what sort of multilateral institutions we need in this day and age do we need formal institutional structures or do we need informal loose coalitions like for example, the QUAD that has emerged in the Indo-Pacific.

  • In the past couple of years, we have seen the maturing of the QUAD. It seemed to be on paper, never issued a joint statement and now suddenly it has a joint statement, it has four working groups and it has a genuine summit and now other countries coming in and saying maybe we wouldn't mind joining or working with the QUAD as a separate institution.

  • On the other hand, organizations like the United Nations, during the height of the pandemic have actually been relatively irrelevant, nobody's really looking at the UN as for guidance regarding the pandemic.

Observer Research Foundation (ORF)

  • It is an independent global think tank based in Delhi, India.

  • The foundation has 3 centres in Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.

  • ORF seeks to lead and aid policy thinking towards building a strong and prosperous India in a fair and equitable world.

  • ORF provides potentially viable inputs for policy and decision-makers in the Indian Government and to the political and business communities of India.

  • ORF started out with an objective of dealing with internal issues of the economy in the wake of the 1990s reforms.

  • However, today its mandate extends to security and strategy, governance, environment, energy and resources, economy and growth.

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