On Wednesday 29th November, we were honoured to welcome to GSF, His Excellency Mr. Vikram K. Doraiswami, High Commissioner of India to the United Kingdom.
He gave a lecture entitled ‘The India We Don’t Know’ in an event hosted by GSF’s Chairman, Lord Lothian PC KC DL.
Given the longstanding historic and cultural ties between India and the UK, it was fitting that on his first day in office, the new UK Foreign Secretary, David Cameron, met the visiting External Affairs Minister of India, Dr S Jaishankar. On the table for discussion were the new momentum in India-UK relations and how to realise the full potential of the bilateral strategic partnership.
During his visit, Dr Jaishankar also discussed the transformation underway in India and he spoke of the ‘new India that is coming into being’. From its presidency of the G20, to overtaking the UK as the world’s fifth largest economy, to becoming the fourth country to land on the moon, India’s growing power and influence has certainly been on display during 2023. While challenges remain domestically – poverty, unemployment, rising political polarization – India is rapidly emerging as an increasingly important actor on the world stage.
What lies ahead for India, both at home and abroad? What global role will the country choose to play and how will Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policy of ‘strategic opportunity’ manifest itself? As Western relations with both Russia and China deteriorate, will India be able to maintain its commitment to ‘strategic autonomy’ in this increasingly volatile and fractured geopolitical environment? Can India provide an alternative model of global governance, particularly for the Global South? President Xi did not to attend September’s G20 summit, and as New Delhi’s influence grows, what is the future for India–China relations? How will India’s domestic politics impact its global role, and with a general election due in 2024, can India cement its reputation as a vigorous democracy?
To listen again to the High Commissioner’s lecture, please click here.
HIS EXCELLENCY MR. VIKRAM K DORAISWAMI has been India’s High Commissioner in the UK since September 2022. Prior to joining the Indian Government, he worked for a year as a journalist. He took a Masters’ Degree in History from the University of Delhi. He has spent over 30 years in the Indian Foreign Service, with foreign assignments in Hong Kong, Beijing, New York (at the Indian Mission to the UN), and Johannesburg in South Africa, where he was India’s Consul General. He has had Ambassadorial assignments in Uzbekistan, and in the Republic of Korea, and as High Commissioner in Bangladesh. In India, he has served in the Prime Minister’s Office, including as Private Secretary to the Indian PM (in the mid-2000s), and has headed Divisions dealing with SAARC, North America, Bangladesh & Myanmar, and he established a new Division for the Indo-Pacific in April 2019. His last assignment at headquarters was as Additional Secretary (international organizations). He speaks Chinese, some Korean and some French. His interests include reading, sports, fitness, travel, history and Jazz. He is an avid reader and a long-standing fan of the works of PG Wodehouse. His wife works in education and they have a 23-year old son.