Special Lectures by Ambassador Rajiv Bhatia
January 24, 2017
The North East Studies Centre at the Department of Geopolitics and International Relations, Manipal Academy of Higher Education organised two special lectures by Ambassador Rajiv Bhatia, formerly India's ambassador to Myanmar and formerly, Director General of the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA), New Delhi on 23 January 2017. The first lecture on the theme 'Challenges to India's Act East Policy in Emerging Dynamics of Geopolitics' centred on the relevance and significance of the emerging contours of India's Act East Policy as a cornerstone of India's foreign policy. Elaborately dwelling on the evolution,changing context and various facets of the Act Policy, Ambassador Bhatia reflected on the rationale and nature of the transition from the Look East to the Act East Policy. India's many faceted relations with the ASEAN were discussed under the four waves spanning across the pre-colonial, colonial,cold war and post-cold war periods. Moreover, a critical appraisal of the Act East Policy was presented and the mechanisms by which the policy and its effectiveness can be augmented were comprehensively analysed.
The second lecture of the day on the theme 'Myanmar in Transition: Relections on India’s Policy and Interests' revolved around the geopolitical significance of the political transition currently underway in Myanmar, a country that shares borders with the four Northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland. The lecture comprehensively covered the history of modern Myanmar, specifically the circumstances in which the country underwent long years of military rule and the role played Aang San Suu Kyi in the democratic opening being seen in the country. Ambassador Bhatia, drawing from his diplomatic experience and scholarly expertise, reflected on the internal political scene in Myanmar, the complexities of the country's external relations and their implications, specifically for India. The milestones in India-Myanmar relations, the challenges and prospects in the relationship and the ways and mechanisms to take India-Myanmar ties forward formed a major part of the lecture.
The lectures were well attended by faculty and students of Manipal Academy of Higher Education and was followed by a vigorous Q&A session.