Visit of a Delegation from the Royal College of Defence Studies, UK
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Leading an eighteen-member delegation of the Royal College of Defence Studies (RCDS), Maj Gen Simon Leslie Porter (Retd) from the UK, visited the Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) on 30 May 2017 for an interaction with the faculty. The delegation, comprising both military and civilian officers from over 11 countries, interacted with a select panel of security and foreign policy experts over a range of strategic and geo-political issues. The interaction kicked-off with the Director VIF, General NC Vij (Retd) highlighting the growing trajectory of India-UK relations from an economic and strategic perspective. While he spoke of the expanding strategic partnership between India and the UK and expressed his condolences for the victims of the most recent Manchester terror attack, he also spoke highly of 1.5 million strong Indian diaspora in the UK, which acts as a bridge between the two countries. As part of his opening remarks, General Vij flagged issues of immediate and medium-term concern to India - Afghanistan’s worsening security environment, rising tide of global terrorism, geo-political flux increasingly accentuated by unpredictable US policies under President Donald Trump, implications of the US pulling out of the Paris Accord on climate change, and China’s apparent disdain for territorial integrity and sovereignty of other countries.

As part of special briefings, the VIF arranged four talks for the visiting RCDS delegation: Potential trajectory of the US foreign policy under President Trump and implications by Amb TCA Rangachari; Implications of China’s muscular foreign policies by Amb Ashok Kantha; Unending Quagmire in Afghanistan by Lt Gen Ravi Sawhney; and, Internal Dynamics of Pakistan by Mr. Tilak Devasher. Following the talks, the speakers engaged the visiting delegates with a lively Q&A session. A few of the questions that the visiting delegates posed to their Indian counterparts related to the impact the Brexit will have on India-UK economic engagements, whether enhanced cooperation between India and China was possible in view of the pendency of their border settlement, and China’s geo-political aspirations, among others. Maj Gen Leslie Porter thanked General Vij for hosting the delegation and the speakers for sharing useful insights on some of the key challenges faced by India and the world at large.

Event Date: 
May 30, 2017