India shares its boundaries with nations varying in size, resources and strength. In a region that has lacked in physical integration but been rich in cultural and historical ties, India has maintained stable and strong relations. The session will focus on the depth of India’s relations with the neighbours and the way forward.
Right from the beginning, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has stressed a Neighbourhood First policy. All the heads of the neighbouring countries were invited to his swearing-in ceremony in 2014, underlining the priority the Indian government placed on advancing friendship and cooperation with neighbours. The policy sought to build political connectivity through dialogue, signalled India’s commitment to regional connectivity, and is predicated on a “sabka saath, sabka vikas” vision for inclusive growth, development and prosperity in the region. India has resolved a number of its territorial disputes with its neighbours and built pipelines, connected power grids and facilitated trade with better roads and customs posts.
More recently, India showed its commitment and responsibility to the neighbourhood by putting these countries at the top of the list of those receiving shipments of Covid-19 vaccines. A number of countries, including Sri Lanka, which received 500,000 doses of Covishield vaccine under the Vaccine Maitri initiative, and Bangladesh, which received 2 million doses of the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine by Serum Institute of India, have been beneficiaries.
Much work has been done by India to strengthen the neighbourhood ties and the potential to achieve more will be discussed in this session with the Foreign Secretary
In the course of a diplomatic career spanning over 36 years, Foreign Secretary Harsh V Shringla has held a variety of positions in New Delhi and abroad. He has served as India’s Ambassador to the United States of America and the Kingdom of Thailand and as High Commissioner to Bangladesh. He has also served in other diplomatic assignments in France (UNESCO, Paris); USA (UN, New York); Vietnam; Israel; and South Africa. Harsh V Shringla has served in the Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi as Joint Secretary (Director General) responsible for Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and the Maldives. He has also headed the United Nations Political and SAARC Divisions in the Ministry. Earlier, he served as Director of the Northern Division dealing with Nepal and Bhutan and as Deputy Secretary in the Europe West Division. Harsh V Shringla graduated from St. Stephen's College, Delhi University. He has been conferred D. Litt. (Honoris Causa) by ICFAI University, Sikkim. He has worked in the private and public sectors in India. Harsh V Shringla has pursued courses and published papers on subjects such as conflict prevention, economic diplomacy, the Indian diaspora and ties between India and Bangladesh and India and USA. He has been called upon to speak at prestigious events in India and abroad on a wide range of issues. Harsh V Shringla assumed charge as the 33rd Foreign Secretary of India on 29 January 2020.
Mr. Jamshyd N. Godrej is the Chairman of the Board of Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Company Limited. Mr. Godrej is the Chairman & Trustee of Ananta Centre. He is the President of World-Wide Fund for Nature – India. He is the Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation, India Resources Trust and Council on Energy, Environment and Water. He is a Director of World Resources Institute, USA. He is also a Trustee of the Asia Society, USA. He is the Past President of Confederation of Indian Industry and also the Past President of the Indian Machine Tool Manufacturers’ Association. Godrej and Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd. manufactures and markets refrigerators; washing machines; air conditioners; office furniture; home furniture; security equipment for banks; locks and latches, forklift trucks and warehousing equipment; process equipment. The Godrej group are leaders in home appliances, consumer durables, office equipment, industrial products, consumer products and services. Mr. Godrej is an ardent yachting enthusiast and has done extensive cruising along the west coast of India, the Baltic & North Sea, the Atlantic Ocean and in the Mediterranean Sea. The President of India conferred on Mr. Godrej the “Padma Bhushan” on 3rd April 2003.