Tag Archives: India

Continuing dialogue on ‘India and the World’ lecture by External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar: Letter to IIM Calcutta

Delivering a lecture at the IIM Calcutta on 2nd of November, 2022, S. Jaishankar, India’s Union Minister for External Affairs, said that there is a larger change today underway in international affairs that is very important to comprehend. “This emanates from the weaponization of everything. In recent years, we have already seen how trade, connectivity, debt, resources and even tourism have become the point of political pressure. The Ukraine conflict has dramatically widened the scope of such leveraging,” Jaishankar said on the topic of “India and the World”.

Jaishankar said the scale of measures, technology control, infrastructure and service restrictions and seizure of assets, has truly been breathtaking.

At the same time, it is also a fact, that global rules and practices have been gamed for national advantage, in a manner that can no longer be overlooked,” he added. The minister said sharpening great power competition is inevitably creating stress factors across multiple domains. “At one level, it induces caution about international exposure but beyond a point that cannot be safeguarded because the very nature of existence is now globalized,” he said.

In a marvelous speech with historic proportions, he mentions 10 reasons why India is now taken seriously even as we are moving towards becoming a leading power.

  1. Handling of the Covid crises – Cowin portal, vaccine production and exports etc. (Disclaimer: I am unvaccinated and to the best of my knowledge this was a massive and unprecedented medical-politico conspiracy and should soon be public knowledge, as the lid blows off.)
  2. Robust economic recovery and the digitally enabled socio-economic delivery on a massive scale at a time when the global economy continues to face serious headwinds
  3. A growing economic relevance to the world reflected in greater FDI inflows, greater manufacturing, stronger exports and embrace of startups.
  4. An independent foreign policy in an increasingly polarised world, one that also speaks for the Global South.
  5. An innovative diplomacy that has introduced new concepts and platforms, without according a veto to others on our choices 
  6. A resolute national security policy that has seen us standing up to daunting challenges in border areas, even during the Covid period
  7. A determination to look after our own abroad – Operation Ganga in Ukraine, Operation Devi Shakti in Afghanistan
  8. A willingness to look out for others and often serve as a first responder in humanitarian or disaster response situation, especially in our own neighborhood
  9. Contributing to global betterment through initiatives in solar energy, disaster resilience, maritime security and counter-terrorism among others
  10. A perception that India as a civilizational-state is finding its place once again in the global order

A combination of changes in our political standing, economic weight, technology capabilities, cultural influence and the success of the Indian diaspora is moving India today into a higher orbit. But let us not underestimate the tasks ahead. For any power to rise in the global order is never easy. But to do so amidst the turbulence that I have described is doubly difficult. We see growing recognition in the world that India is getting its act together. Equally there is a realization that the big issue of our times cannot be solved without India’s contribution or participation. This is a moment when India resets the terms of engagement with the world. It is also a juncture when we should be prepared to take up greater responsibilities. India matters more to the world and we must make the best of it.

The inspiring talk was followed by an equally engaging interaction in which the Minister meticulously replied to every question. In response to IIM Calcutta’s announcement on its LinkedIn page, many alumni shared their interest to participate.

Interestingly, the idea of ‘weaponization of everything’ resonates with my presentation at the General Assembly of the World Health Council in April ’22 that tracks the historical markers over the past two millenia on how dehumanising forces in an intensely globalised world, have weaponoised every aspect of life from trade and commerce, education, agriculture, religion, professional guilds, nationalism, gender relations, and now, even healthcare. You can also look up the slides here.

As an alumnus of IIM Calcutta, I have written to the Director for a continuing dialogue on ‘India and the World’ as I share here for your feedback, comments and further participation in forthcoming events on this interesting subject.

The Director
IIM Calcutta
Kolkata, India.

Dear Uttam da,

Hearty congratulations to my alma mater for organizing the Dr S Jaishankar lecture on “India and the World’ on 2nd of November.

As Convenor for Gaia Earth Sansad, a civil society start-up for global peace, equality, dignity and prosperity, I have a keen interest in the climate and ecological restoration, geopolitics and India’s role in an increasingly turbulent, violent, insecure and dangerous world teetering at the brink of human extinction. Thinking aloud, I always wondered why IIMs didn’t engage more actively in national and global policy discourse and to shape the new emerging narrative in the post-industrial world order. 

I am glad and hopeful that the 33rd Institute Lecture by Dr Jaishankar will mark a new beginning in this direction. Through this email, I would like to call for a continuation of the ‘India and the World’ dialogue with Hon. Minister and IIM Calcutta – students, faculty and alumni.

Dr Jaishankar, in his talk on ‘India and the World’, refers to how the world order is fixated with old positions dating back to 1945 at the formation of United Nations, a most diabolical organisation based on the treacherous and fatally flawed precept of awarding permanent seats with veto powers in the Security Council to the aggressors of WWII, when its Charter explicitly calls to avert any further war and talks about peace, equality and dignity.

Yet, why does Hon. Minister stick to hackneyed notions of ‘developed’ world financing the ‘developing’ countries in the ‘Global South’ to meet climate targets, as he shared in response to a question on the Glasgow COP failure?

When in reality, the solution to climate crises lies in the large populations in the developing countries to exit the globalized predatory financial system and thus ‘de-financialise’ the ‘developed’ countries in the Global North and to stop the resources being siphoned and drained away in the neo-colonial era.

BRICS is making good moves in this direction but we need far more innovative approaches to achieve a breakthrough. In his brilliant and thought provoking speech, Dr Jaishankar talked about a combination of 10 factors that have moved India to a higher orbit in the global perception. This includes points 4,5 and 10 as I cite below. 

4. An independent foreign policy in an increasingly polarised world, one that also speaks for the Global South.

5. An innovative diplomacy that has introduced new concepts and platforms, without according a veto to others on our choices 

10. A perception that India as a civilizational-state is finding its place once again in the global order

He mentions how ‘there is a realization that the big issue of our times cannot be solved without India’s contribution or participation. This is a moment when India resets the terms of engagement with the world. It is also a juncture when we should be prepared to take up greater responsibilities.’  

My questions to Hon. Minister in this regard are as follows:

How can we, in the civil society and academia, work together with the government and especially the Ministry of External Affairs, for India to carry this momentum forward?

How can we together build capabilities and deliver on the responsibilities from this higher orbit and lead the much needed global reforms to address global challenges that as he says are increasingly affecting our daily lives, which cannot be ignored?


1. https://www.facebook.com/drsjaishankar/videos/2423406301131644/?extid=CL-UNK-UNK-UNK-IOS_GK0T-GK1C&mibextid=2Rb1fB&ref=sharing

Best regards,
Chandra Vikash
PGDM IIM Calcutta – 1995-97 (32nd batch)
B.Tech. IIT Kharagpur
Convenor – Gaia Earth Sansad


China & India : Should these neighboring giants and ancient civilizations come together to fill up the vacuum created by the failed “Euro-Western Universalism” and save humanity from extinction?

China has not only been a prolific innovator, but it has also withstood western aggression valiantly for centuries. It has also had phenomenal success in lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty in the last several decades. But the concern, as author Jonathan Long shares in his 2010 book When a billion Chinese jump – “most of China’s 1.4 billion people prefer to live better today, the shock to the world’s economy, atmosphere, soil, water, forests and natural resources seems set to trigger his boyhood terror: the demands of a billion Chinese bent on becoming prosperous consumers could indeed, on China’s present trajectory, knock the world off its axis”.

A big dilemma for us in India has been that what if India followed precisely the same trajectory of heavy industrialization with its attendant pollution, social dislocation, and other hazards, as rapidly and efficiently as China did. Even as many of us, like myself, have invested lots of time and efforts in removing the scourge of hunger malnutrition, and hunger which was unheard of in India less than two centuries ago, we are equally careful that this must be in harmony with nature to be equitable and sustainable. Even as we, in India, have lots and lots to learn and draw inspiration from China, we are equally dismayed at the way it has been going too far to betray its own Taoist ethos of living in harmony with nature and the finely balanced duality of the Yin and the Yang and thus succumb to western tactics that have bullied China into becoming ‘global manufacturing backyard’ for all dirty and polluting industries supplying to the Western thugs in their own fraud currency called the US Dollar. It has been desperately trying to extricate itself from a tricky situation, but that cannot happen without active collaboration with the people of India.

As people of India we look up to a resurgent China with lots of awe. However, as we sink further into a morass of multipronged crises -such as health ecological, and geopolitical tensions, there are several challenges that present significant opportunities to transcend the present maladies to a better future through far greater collaboration among these two ancient civilizations.

The imperialist and capitalist bullies are on the retreat as recently in Kabul and as even The Economist gets the whiff – more Saigons and Kabuls are on the cards. But are we – the humanists and cosmopolitan thinkers and activists with all our good and noble intents ready to fill in that vacuum?

The Trouble with China

The century of humiliation has inflicted a deep wound on the collective psyche of China. It resulted in a very strong sense of collective inferiority complex. The scars are still very raw. On the other hand, pride in the glory of 4,000 years of civilisation and recent spectacular economic achievements have also boosted a collective superiority complex. Hence the violent swings between aggressive “wolf-warrior diplomacy” and the “irrational worship of the West’. China has yet to achieve a collective psychological equilibrium.It’s compounded by a streak of unforgiving vengefulness that lurks within a dark corner of the collective Chinese psyche. It has the potential to destabilise China’s relationship with the outside world if it is not restrained.”
– Excerpts from an essay on China: The search for a new destiny: What’s behind Xi Jinping’s crackdown on Big Tech and rich celebrities, and other measures? To understand what’s driving the ‘common prosperity’ plan, it helps to look back at China’s tumultuous journey in balancing political control, market efficiency and social justice.
by Tan Kong Yam, an economist at the Nanyang Technological University and China strategist at APS Asset Management.

I deeply admire China’s meteoric rise as an economic power and endowing “wester living standards” to large numbers with heavy-handed industrialisation at phenomenal speeds.My questions are: Does it realise that it has gone overboard and is titillatingly close to driving over the cliff.

In such a scenario, China may not realise on its own as the writer aptly points out the “violent swings” and its inability to “achieve a collective psychological equilibrium” that is further “compounded by a streak of unforgiving vengefulness that lurks within a dark corner of the collective Chinese psyche”.When China finally wakes up on its own, it might be “too late” not just for the people of China but in this era of intense materialistic globalisation for the entire world.Where does the Indian society figure in the collective perception of Chinese society? Is it time for these two ancient civilizations (the Deep Society) to come together for a holistic dialog at a time when human society as a whole is teetering on the brink of extinction weighed down by maddening and monstrous materialism and drop-dead consumerism? In reinvigorating its Confucianist spirit, has Taoism, the other pulse of China, already dead or do we have a hope to revive it.Here is my thinking aloud in the next part below together with a framework for grassroots to global governance system for a livable equitable and sustainable world ushering towards a holistic and harmonious world order.

GAIA Earth Sansad (www.gaiasansad.org) is based on our indomitable commitment and purposefulness to fulfill a long-pending agenda since the League of Nations formation days a century back to create a truly people-led representative world parliament and a grassroots-to-global governance system that strikes a fine balance between human needs and ecological capacities. Alone, we can tie a few knots.Together, we can weave a seamless future. In response to a recent lecture by well-known Marxian scholar Vijay Prashad, director of Tricontinental, I offer coordination among people across the world led by a renewed collaboration of India and China.India, for instance, has no space for a Taliban-like force to overthrow an equally and in many ways, far more corrupt regime in Delhi backed again by the US. Even as it is causing glaring and crying inequality and injustice, with a vast number of people suffering in misery, hunger, malnutrition, poverty and loss of livelihoods, the realistic and balanced sense of justice guides us to set up a truly democratic world body called GAIA Earth Sansad (www.gaiasansad.org ), even if our objective is also to contain the puppet regime and its surreptitious masters pulling the strings.This comes from an understanding of India being a civilization and not a nation-state. It holds a special place in the world as a microcosm of the whole world in containing its rich diversity and plurality that speaks in so many voices, not just within India, but as Indian diaspora, in almost every part of the world. No doubt that all indigenous people worldwide are called Indians.

It is not merely a conjecture therefore that India/Bharatiya/Hindu is the classical, cosmopolitan and cosmological character of the global indigenous. Encapsulated in thoughts such as Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam (World as Family) and Gaavo Vishvasv Matarah (Mother Earth or Gaia), is this openly held secret of how India is the nucleus or the natural center of the world before it is brutally and then surreptitiously displaced from its position by Euro-Western Universalism that has with its fatal flaws of reductionism and mechanistic principles brought humanity to the brink of extinction in just under 4 hundred years and needs to be stopped in its tracks from unleashing even further damage. Rather than an imperialist coloniser, the world needs and deserves India, once again as global thought leader or Vishvaguru.

How can we together address ecological catastrophe that is a big part of systemic exclusion pushing people into poverty and starvation, even as try to pull them up using greater mechanisation and innovations. Capitalism and communism are hand in glove here to push ecologically degrading industrialization – more tractors and combine harvesters, power guzzling machines, transportation and refrigeration systems. 李杜文章在,光焰萬丈晐。in response comments: “It’s true that the poverty alleviation of China has had serious ecological consequences that stem not from necessity but from a desire to compete in the global marketplace. If they took a communist approach to poverty alleviation they wouldn’t rely so heavily on carbon-based energy production and attempt much earlier to move towards renewable sources. China has only recently moved towards that path in order to be able to corner the market on renewable technology. Capitalism dominates in China and I have no faith in Xi Jinping.”

GES, which is a people-led initiative aims to transcend present maladies to create a livable, equitable, just and sustainable world. We are committed to collaborating with every organization that is sincere, sane, and sanguine in its purpose, vision, and actions towards a holistic and harmonious world order, when humanity as a whole needs us together the most, against the vile, devious, and diabolical forces of inhumane and murderous imperialism and capitalism.
The Simpler WayAs this recent article (2) on how we now need Eco-Anarchy along with a grassroots to global governance system, as I would like to add, the necessary reductions or cleaning up prior pollution cannot be achieved unless there is a transition to some kind of a Simpler Way. Its core elements must be,1. A profound cultural shift, to simpler lifestyles, a focus on non-material sources of life satisfaction, and a much more collectivist and less individualistic outlook.2. Mostly small, highly self-sufficient local economies, largely independent of national or global economies, devoting local resources to meeting local needs, with little intra-state let alone international trade.3. Most government by people in small communities taking cooperative and participatory control over their own local development, via voluntary committees, working bees and town meetings.4. A new economy, one that is a small fraction of the size of the present economy, is not driven by profit or market forces, does not grow, and ensures that needs, rights, justice, welfare and ecological sustainability determine the purposes to which limited resources are devoted.Only in small, and highly integrated communities can per capita resource and ecological costs be dramatically reduced. For instance our study of inputs to village-level egg production (Trainer, Malik and Lenzen, 2018) (2) found that in these operations dollar and energy costs are typically around 2% of eggs supplied by the commercial/industrial path, while eliminating its ecological costs and providing other benefits such as pest control, fertilizer, methane and leisure resources.It must be emphasized that this vision does not mean abandoning modern high technology, medicine, R and D, universities etc. There will be plenty of resources for such things when we shift to lifestyles and systems that meet needs well but eliminate superfluous production. For example, frugal Ecovillages typically accumulate sufficient surpluses to devote to sophisticated technical and other studies, and larger systems can also do so, easily. These communities will not and can not function in these ways, satisfactorily, unless their members willingly and happily take on the responsibility and rewards of running their communities well, are eager to cooperate, participate, help and share, to prioritize the public good, and are content with frugal lifestyles.The goal therefore must be Eco-anarchism”
LACE-GAIA model as described here at our website (www.gaiasansad.org) is one simple way to reach eco-anarchism at local levels as well as peace and prosperity at the global level creating a livable equitable and sustainable world that ushers us towards a holistic and harmonious Taoist world order.
1. When a Billion Chinese Jump by Jonathan Watts
2. China: The search for a new destiny by Tan Kong Yam (
3. Beyond Afghanistan: Rather than imperialist coloniser, world ‘deserves’ Vishvaguru India August 27, 2021
4. Eco-socialism vs. Eco-anarchism: Exploring “The Simpler Way” August 29, 2021

Best Regards,
Chandra Vikash
Convener – GES GAIA Earth Sansad
+91 8595397605 chandravikash.wordpress.com