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The Regional Stakes of India's Foreign Policy





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. Chaired and 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.

Roundtable 1: New dynamics between South Asia and the Middle East

  • Hasan Alhasan (KCL/IISS)

  • Camille Lons (IISS)

  • Tanvi Madan (Brookings)

  • Meena Singh Roy (IDSA)

  • Nicolas Blarel (Leiden University)

  • Chair & Moderator: Eckart Woertz (GIGA)

Roundtable 2: The India-China relationship in the context of the Belt and Road Initiative

  • Emilian Kavalski (Nottingham University)

  • Filippo Boni (The Open University)

  • Isabelle Saint-Mézard (IFRI)

  • Johannes Plagemann (GIGA)

  • Chair & Moderator: Raphaëlle Khan (IRSEM)

Roundtable 3: The Indo-Pacific as a strategic region

  • Nilanthi Samaranayake (CNA)

  • Sandra Destradi (Freiburg University)

  • Hugo Meijer (CERI)

  • Mathieu Dûchatel (Institut Montaigne)

  • Chair & Moderator: Patrick Köllner (GIGA)

Closed-door seminar: Towards a European Indo-Pacific strategy?

Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, France

  • Bertrand Lortholary, Head of the Asia Directorate

  • Christophe Penot, Ambassador in charge of the Indo-Pacific

  • Christian Lechervy, Ambassador in Myanmar Defense Ministry

Defense Ministry, France

  • Régis Colcombet, Brigadier General, Head of International Security Affairs, Directorate General for International Relations and Strategy Think tanks

Think tanks, France

  • Bruno Tertrais, Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique

  • Mathieu Dûchatel, Institut Montaigne

Federal Foreign Office, Germany

  • Jasper Wieck, Deputy Director General for East Asia, Southeast Asia and Pacific

  • Sebastian Groth, Head of Policy Planning

  • Stefan Grabherr, German Envoy to India

Defense Ministry, Germany

  • Axel Ristau, Rear Admiral, Chief of Division Security and Policy II

Think tanks, Germany

  • Gudrun Wacker, Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik

  • Sarah Kirchberger, Institut für Sicherheitspolitik, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

  • Chairs & Moderators: Christophe Jaffrelot (CERI) / Amrita Narlikar (GIGA)

Cooperation Partners

Institute for Strategic Research at the Military School, Center for International Studies, SciencesPo


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