At Raisina Dialogue, global response to Ukraine crisis, changing face of modern warfare grab centrestage

At Raisina Dialogue, global response to Ukraine crisis, changing face of modern warfare grab centrestage

At Raisina Dialogue, global response to Ukraine crisis, changing face of modern warfare grab centrestage

New Delhi: India’s flagship conference on geopolitics and geo-strategy, the annual Raisina Dialogue saw participation from global leaders of nearly a hundred countries on Friday with the Ukraine war, international response to the conflict, India’s G20 Presidency and the changing face of war in modern times being the key topics on the agenda.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is this year’s chief guest at the eighth edition of the annual Raisina Dialogue, and delivered the keynote address on Thursday where she lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a world leader and his able handling of a complex G20 presidency.

With the brutal war in Ukraine completing one year earlier last week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaking at the Raisina Dialogue on Friday said, allowing Russia to wage war against Ukraine with impunity would be a message to “would be aggressors” everywhere that they may be able to get away with it too. Blinken, speaking at the conference, also said the principles driving the international system are being challenged and even countries beyond Europe are working to support Ukraine knowing the severity of the challenge and its possible implications in the future. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, his Japanese counterpart Yoshimasa Hayashi and Australia’s Penny Wong were also part of the session.

Blinken, earlier in the day, also participated in a Quad foreign ministers’ meet in tandem with his counterparts from India, Japan and Australia.

The conference, organised under the theme “Provocation, Uncertainty, Turbulence: Lighthouse in the Tempest?” also had a session on “The Future of Warfare” and debated whether the war in Ukraine had indeed changed the definition of war for future generations. Distinguished military leaders from the defence services of India, Australia and the United States discussed the changing face of conflict in modern times with Firstpost’s Managing Editor Palki Sharma at the Raisina Dialogue.

“War is a clash of wills. My assessment is that this war will continue. I am incredibly impressed by the wide coalition of nations that have come out to support Ukraine. But until will changes this war will continue,” said General Angus J. Campbell, Chief of the Defence Force, Australia.

India’s Chief of Defence Staff General Anil Chauhan said, “The biggest lesson from this conflict is that we need to be self-reliant.”

“Yes, India has just taken some baby steps actually, for the past 2-3 years. A large number of initiatives have been taken by the Indian government. And I think for these initiatives to succeed, the driving force would be the Services themselves,” General Chauhan said referring to the country’s thrust on self-reliance in the defence sector.

From the United States, General Jim Mattis, Former Secretary of Defence pointed out that in the last few decades no country had ever spoken of a nuclear war with impunity the way Russia had in the run-up to the first anniversary of the conflict in Ukraine. General Mattis also pointed out that the Russia which was carrying on a brutal and ruthless aggression in Ukraine and its political will was very different from the erstwhile USSR or the Russia of maybe even ten years ago. He also indicated that political power in Russia had now come to be concentrated in the hands of one individual—its President Vladimir Putin.

In yet another interactive session at the Raisina Dialogue with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former England cricketer Kevin Pietersen, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar drew an analogy with a cricket team captain and likened Prime Minister Narendra Modi to a skipper who he said gave his bowlers a certain amount of freedom while expecting them to take wickets.

Jaishankar said Modi’s knack of taking tough decisions was also on display when India decided to announce the lockdown after the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, step up production of vaccines, roll out an inoculation programme and help countries in need of vaccines.

“With Captain Modi, there is a lot of net practice. The net practice starts at six o’clock in the morning and goes on till fairly late,” Jaishankar said.

Over the past eight years, India’s Raisina Dialogue has consistently grown in stature to establish itself as one of the leading global conferences on international affairs.

The last edition of Raisina Dialogue took place in Sydney where Jaishankar had called on Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong and gifted her a cricket bat signed by Indian captain Rohit Sharma while his Australian counterpart gifted him an Australian cricket jersey with ‘Jaishankar’ written on it.