Former Indian Foreign Secretary Dr S Jaishankar said a rising India needs to work with Western nations to find new ground to further strengthen a relationship that has already delivered considerable global political benefits and economic gains
The ace diplomat was delivering the University of Birmingham India Institute’s inaugural Distinguished Lecture on India’s relationship with Western nations.
Dr Jaishankar, who is now President, Global Corporate Affairs, Tata Group, explored ‘What India means to the West’, with unique insights from his time as Foreign Secretary of India, and Indian Ambassador to the United States, China, and the Czech Republic.
He told the audience that working with the West was an essential means for India to continue to flourish in an increasingly fragmented world, adding that our turbulent times could create new opportunities to find common ground.
“It would be in Western interest that India emerge more rapidly as a source of global demand and supply, thereby reducing excessive dependence on any single geography,” said Dr Jaishankar. “There are larger political principles to prove by ensuring India’s success. It will affirm that democratic politics and high growth economics are not mutually exclusive, as well as establishing that democratic values are global and not just Western.”
After delivering his lecture, Dr Jaishankar participated in a discussion panel featuring University of Birmingham Chancellor Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea, Consul General India Dr Aman Puri and Professor Scott Lucas, from the University’s Department of Political Science and International Studies.
India Consul General Dr. Aman Puri commented: “I am delighted that the University of Birmingham and the Consulate General of India are jointly hosting their first ever Distinguished Lecture. The University’s India Institute is playing an important role in improving collaboration between India and UK and we offer our best wishes and support for all future endeavours.
“In a post-Brexit world, collaboration between UK and India is only expected to increase. As the British economy addresses crises in terms of shortage of skilled manpower, linkages between British and Indian universities and institutions can help tap into the huge pool of English-speaking professionals available in India.”
In partnership with the Consulate General of India, the University welcomed the former Indian Foreign Secretary to an evening that opened with Sampad Arts’ performance of Converse, featuring outstanding dance and music artists Vidya Patel and Shammi Pithia.
Professor Robin Mason, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (International) at the University of Birmingham, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Ambassador Dr. Jaishankar to the University of Birmingham. His reading of India’s relationship with Western nations, clearly drawn from his vast political, diplomatic and business experience, provided thought-provoking insight.
“As a civic university with a global outlook, we could not have wished for a better guest to deliver the India Institute’s inaugural Distinguished Lecture, in partnership with the Consulate General of India. We thank Dr. Jaishankar for giving people in the UK this unique opportunity to listen to and ask questions of an influential and distinguished thought leader.”