The second annual Raisina Dialogue was held in New Delhi, this time in January with distinguished foreign and Indian intellectuals and academics addressing the seesions. Envisioned to be India’s flagship conference of geopolitics and geo-economics, the conference was designed on the lines of Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.
This year’s conference was jointly held by the Ministry of External Affairs, India and the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), a think tank funded by the Ambani group in India. Held in New Delhi from 17-19 January, 2017 at the Taj Palace, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi, the theme of the Dialogue, this year, was “The New Normal: Multilateralism with Multi-Polarity”.
The three-day dialogue featured an Inaugural Panel with the participation of M.J. Akbar, Minister of State for External Affairs of India, Prakash Sharan Mahat, Foreign Minister of Nepal, Hamid Karzai, former President of Afghanistan, Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia and Gowher Rizvi, International Affairs Advisor to Prime Minister of Bangladesh.
A video message from the United Nations Secretary General Mr. Antonio Guterres was also be played before the Inaugural Panel followed by several Ministerial and Keynote addresses.
Besides the Theme Address by Foreign Secretary Dr. S. Jaishankar, the foreign dignitaries who addressed the Dialogue included Boris Johnson, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, UK, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, Minister for Regional Development, Sri Lanka, Stephen Harper, former Prime Minister of Canada, Jacques Audibert, Diplomatic Advisor to the President of France, Shunsuke Takei, Parliamentary Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, Admiral Harry B. Harris Jr, Commander, Pacific Command and Admiral Michelle Howard, Commander, US Naval Forces, Europe and Africa.
While the first edition involved about 40 countries with 120 foreign participants, the 2nd edition featureed participation from about 65 countries and more than 250 foreign participants.
The name Raisina Dialogue comes from Raisina Hill, where the Rashtrapati Bhavan and the South and North Blocks of the Indian government’s head offices were located and the conference symbol has the design as its symbol.
The theme of the first dialogue was “Connecting Asia” which witnessed participation of more than 100 speakers from over 35 countries and the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj described the dialogue as a “new sense of purse to the country’s foreign policy”.