Today, the regional and global dimensions of India’s foreign policy are interlinked in new ways. Against the backdrop of an intensifying Sino-Indian rivalry, New Delhi has deepened its engagements with what it labels its “extended neighbourhood” – West, South, Central, and Southeast Asia. China has invested billions in infrastructure projects across Asia as part of its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). India has similarly boosted its economic and political relations with various regional actors while simultaneously forging closer ties with extra-regional players such as Japan and the United States. While contributing to the complexity of regional politics, major power competition in Asia often benefits smaller, third states with their own strategic and economic interests.
These developments pose a series of important questions that will be explored during the conference. For instance, to what extent does the Sino-Indian competition over resources, markets, and allies preclude cooperation based on shared interests in strategic stability or the safe access to resources? How do regional actors manage Chinese and Indian engagements? And how does their competition in third countries affect bilateral relations between India and China?
Indian engagements in the Middle East, India’s South Asian neighbourhood, and the wider Indo-Pacific, will be discussed in three panels. The conference also includes a closed-door roundtable with French and German foreign and security policymakers and experts. Moderated by Prof. Dr. Amrita Narlikar and Prof. Dr. Christophe Jaffrelot, the dialogue will focus on how the recently released German “Indo-Pacific Guidelines” and the French “Strategy in the Indo-Pacific” may contribute to a joint European approach towards this vital region.