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Raisina Dialogue to begin on Tuesday, PM Modi to attend inaugural session

NEW DELHI: India’s flagship global conference on geopolitics and geo-economics Raisina Dialogue will begin on Tuesday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi attending the inaugural session at which seven former heads of state or government will share their views on important challenges facing the world.

The fifth edition of the prestigious Raisina Dialogue, jointly organised by the Ministry of External Affairs and the Observer Research Foundation, will bring together 700 international participants from over a 100 countries, in one of the largest gathering of its kind.

The three-day conference will see the participation of 12 foreign ministers, including from Russia, Iran, Australia, Maldives, South Africa, Estonia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Latvia, Uzbekistan and the EU.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will take the stage at the Dialogue for a conversation on ‘The India Way: Preparing for a Century of Growth & Contest’ on January 15, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.

Iran foreign minister Javed Zarif’s participation assumes significance as it comes following the killing of Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani.

Zarif and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will both arrive here on Tuesday night and deliver their address for the dialogue the next day.

Zarif will also call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and hold talks with Jaishankar during his visit.

Chief of Staff, Joint Staff of the Japan Self-Defence Forces, General Koji Yamazaki, Vice Chief of Australian Defence Force, Vice Admiral David Johnston and Chief of Naval Staff of UK, Admiral Tony Radakin will also speak at the conference.

The valedictory address will be delivered by Vice President of the European Commission and High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, European Union, Josep Borrell.

The Secretary-General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth will also attend the conference, the MEA said in a statement.

The NSA of Afghanistan, Deputy NSA of the United States and several ministers of state, including from Germany, will also present their ideas at the conference, the MEA said.

Forty per cent of the speakers at the Dailogue are women, it said.

The Heads of over 30 think-tanks from around the world will also moderate or present their views across different sessions, it said.

The inaugural session on Tuesday will be attended by Prime Minister Modi and seven former heads of state or government, with high international stature and rich experience in governance, will share their views during the inaugural session on important challenges facing the world related to globalisation, 2030 agenda, role of technology in modern world, climate change and counter-terrorism.

The former heads of government who will engage in a discussion are former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark, former Afghan President Hamid Karzai, former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt, former Danish Prime Minister Anders Rasmussen, former Bhutanese premier Tshering Tobgay and former South Korean Prime Minister Han Seung-soo.

Over the course of two days intensive deliberations will take place over 80 sessions around 5 thematic pillars – the nationalist impulses challenging global institutions and collective action, debate on the global trading architecture, role of technologies in determining political, economic and military power, global development agenda and the state-individual relationship in the age of digital communities and cyberspace.

The synergies and collaborations in the Raisina Dialogue represent India’s deliberative ethos as well as its international credibility and convening power, the MEA said.