(By Anup Tripathi)
Protectionism, fuelled by “the people who feel that they’ve been left behind by globalisation”, is “fuelling politics of extreme Right and extreme Left”, feels Dr Alexander Evans, British Deputy High Commissioner to India. Addressing the students of University Business School, Panjab University (PU), on Wednesday, he stated that no government in India can afford not to be redistributive, “because you have to provide a platform for those who have been marginalised.”
He termed Brexit “a protectionist measure”, adding “Britain has always been a free-trading country, and has lead the way in that regard.”
“We are better off trade-wise against the competing countries. Free trade normally benefits everybody,” he said.
“Brexit is about sovereignty,” he stated, asking “if India were tomorrow told to bow down to South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in matter of governance, what would it do, to which the crowd replied in a unanimous “no”. He then went on to say that Britain still is in good standing with the European Union, but it chooses to its own master. He then shared his views about strategy.
“Strategy is both useless and essential and at the same time it is painful. Even if you have an amazing strategy document, it doesn’t prepare you for the greatest surprise,” he said, crediting the theory to internationalist Ricardo V. Luna Mendoza, what he calls “law of proliferating unintended consequences” or “lunar law”.
To overcome this, Evens suggested to adapt and become more multidisciplinary. He specifically talked about the contribution of science fiction and literature as they “make us think outside the box”. Connecting with this sentiment he spoke of how the staff of the High Commission were enrolled in two “expertise” courses. One for new diplomats who are sent to different areas of the country for a week for first-hand learning as against doing researches, which are cut off from society. Along with this, they also introduced a formal training course for the diplomats.