Updated: October 28, 2021 11:02:39 pm
“India aims to leverage enduring British strengths for national development, take advantage of the post-Brexit British ambitions for a global role, and find practical ways to better the dynamic between the domestic politics of the two countries,” Prof C Raja Mohan, former member of India’s National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) said Thursday.
He was delivering the 48th Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB) Foundation Day lecture virtually. In his lecture titled ‘Reconnecting to the West: India’s New Geopolitics’, Mohan touched upon India’s change in foreign policy in terms of strengthening ties with the European Union.
“While improving relations with the United States gained traction quickly in the 21st Century, moving forward with Britain and Europe was a lot harder. Although Britain and Europe have had a longer and more intimate relationship with India, the problem lay in the colonial past of Britain and Europe. However, Delhi is now strengthening security cooperation with Britain and Europe within the framework of Indo-Pacific geography. Delhi is also seeking free trade agreements with London and Brussels,” he remarked.
Prof Mohan noted that India’s attitude towards Europe has evolved since the end of the Cold War as it opened up its economy to European capital and technology, sought to revitalise political engagement with the world’s major economies and diversified its security partnerships.
Also the Director of Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore, Mohan explored the sources and implications of India’s expanding engagement with the US and its allies in Europe and Asia – in economic, political and security domains and the growing prominence of the West in the nation’s international relations.
“While both Delhi and Washington deny that the Quad is a military alliance, it could certainly take India closer than ever before to a security coalition with the West. If India shunned alliances in general, it was even more reluctant to be part of the Western ones but the idea of Indian participation in looser coalitions of various kinds with different Western countries is no longer taboo in Delhi,” he said.
He went on to say that one of the enduring concerns in the Indian foreign policy discourse has been the fear that drawing close to the US and the West will undermine India’s independent foreign policy and strategic autonomy.
“Although that fear might have been somewhat true in the early years of independence, today India is the third-largest economy in PPP terms. Its GDP has already overtaken that of France, is level with Britain and could overtake Germany’s by the end of this decade,” Prof Mohan, who is also a Contributing Editor on foreign affairs for The Indian Express said.
Prof Mohan further noted that India was the third-largest spender on defence and has one of the largest armed forces in the world. “Together with the large size of its market, India is now in a position to negotiate relations with other major powers on reasonable terms. As it sheds the small-nation syndrome and imagines itself as part of the great power constellation shaping the world, India’s foreign policy must inevitably be different from that of a new nation in the middle of the 20th century,” he highlighted.
Over 75% students on campus are fully vaccinated: IIMB Director
Over 75 per cent of the total students who have returned to campus as offline sessions resumed post-Covid-19 have been fully vaccinated against the infection, IIMB Director Prof Rishikesha T Krishnan said.
“Today, more than 90% of our students are on campus. Everyone has received at least one shot of a Covid vaccine and more than 75% have received both shots. Many programmes are now operating in hybrid mode with some students observing distancing norms being physically present in the classroom and the rest attending the sessions virtually,” he said.
Appreciating IIMBx, the institute’s digital learning initiative, he said that it helped create a new record with a 48% completion rate in its online course delivered as part of a Women Entrepreneurship Programme. “This hints at the immense possibilities to tap in the digital learning space. This participation was recorded as part of the ‘Empowering Women through Entrepreneurship Program’ launched by the National Commission for Women wherein IIMB’s action-oriented online course ‘Do Your Venture: Entrepreneurship for Everyone’ was used for training the participants in Entrepreneurship. The programme is designed to promote economic independence among women through Entrepreneurship,” he said.
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