The Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA), in collaboration with the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC), organised a dialogue on “India-Russia Strategic Partnership: New Challenges and Opportunities in a Changing World Order” on 2 February 2023 at Sapru House in a hybrid format. The inaugural remarks were made by Amb. Vijay Thakur Singh, Director General, ICWA; Dr.Andrey Kortunov, Director General, RIAC, H.E. Pavan Kapoor, Ambassador of India to the Russian Federation; and H.E. Denis Alipov, Ambassador of Russian Federation to India. The Dialogue focused on new opportunities and challenges for India and Russia in the backdrop of the ongoing global geopolitical flux.
2. In the inaugural session, the participants reiterated that over the years, both countries have maintained independent foreign policies and pursued strategic autonomy while dealing with changes in the global and regional scenarios. It was noted that despite challenges posed by Covid-19 and the Ukraine crisis, the two countries maintained regular dialogue on matters of convergences and divergences. This reflects the resilient nature of the India-Russia bilateral ties.
3. The first session of the Dialogue focused on “Security Agenda in India and Russia”. The panel was chaired by Dr. Ivan Timofeev, Director of Programs, RIAC. Remarks were made by Amb. P.S. Raghavan, Chairman of the national Security Advisory Board (NSAB) and former Ambassador to Russia; Dr. Andrey Kortunov, DG, RIAC; Dr. Dmitri Trenin, Leading Research Fellow, Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations (IMEMO); and Capt. Sarabjeet S Parmar, Senior Fellow at the National Maritime Foundation. The participants delved on the uncertain security scenario and the far reaching effects of the disruptions brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic and the Ukraine crisis. The participants also acknowledged the growing role of India as a major power and considered it is a positive development for the emerging World Order. India’s inclusive vision of the Indo-Pacific region and a rules based maritime order was also highlighted in the session.
4. The second session delved on “Economic Cooperation: Traditional and Innovative Areas. The session was chaired by Amb. Ajay Bisaria, Former Joint Secretary, Eurasia, Ministry of External Affairs, GOI. Remarks were made by Prof. D. Suba Chandran, Dean and Prof. National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bengaluru ; Dr. Ivan Timofeev, Director of Programs, RIAC; Mr. Amit Bhandari, Senior Fellow, Energy, Investment and Connectivity- Gateway House, Mumbai; Dr. Lydia Kulik, Head of India Studies, SKOLKOVO Institute for Emerging Markets; Dr. Chaitanya Giri, Associate Professor Environmental and Space Studies, FLAME University, Pune; and Dr. Alexey Kupriyanov, Head, Center of Indian Ocean Region, IMEMO RAS. It focused on traditional spheres of cooperation such as energy; role of new technologies, innovations and digital economy; as promising avenues for expanding trade and stimulating mutual investments between the two countries and also delved on the challenges of collaboration due to sanctions. The Speakers underscored the importance of enhanced cooperation in the Arctic and Space sector for mutual benefit.
5. The third session focused on the theme of “Cooperation in the Sphere of Higher Education and Science–a Basis for Future Generations”. The speakers reiterated the importance of promoting bilateral educational programs and student exchanges between Russian and Indian universities. The speakers noted that although there is immense potential in the domain of education and science that is yet to be tapped to its fullest potential. In this respect, a thrust needs to be put on information sharing, youth programmes and education fairs.
6. The closing remarks were made by Amb. Vijay Thakur Singh, DG, ICWA and Dr. Andrey Kortunov, DG, RIAC.