The Takshashila Institution, in collaboration with the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA), organized the inaugural session of The Ideashala at Sapru House in New Delhi to discuss “The Evolving Dynamics of the India-China Relationship.” The Ideashala, Takshashila’s most recent initiative, serves as a unique forum for policymakers, researchers, practitioners and students to deliberate on issues of contemporary significance.
After welcome remarks from Ambassador T.C.A. Raghavan, Director General of ICWA, and Mr. Nitin Pai, Director and Co-Founder of Takshashila, The Ideashala commenced with two presentations and a panel discussion moderated by Ms. Suhasini Haidar. Mr. Anirudh Kanisetti, a research analyst at Takshashila, presented on the subject, ‘The Kra Canal: What does it mean for India?’, and proposed the Kra Canal project as a useful opportunity to analyse how India could best manage China’s influence in the region. Mr. Kanisetti stated that India must act proactively if it is to benefit from Kra, and that with the Kra Canal project as with relations with China, India must “maximise the benefits of engaging whilst managing the risks of doing so.”
The second presentation was given by Mr. Manoj Kewalramani, Associate Fellow at Takshashila, on ‘5G, Huawei and Geopolitics: An Indian Roadmap’. Mr. Kewalramani engaged with the question of whether India should permit Huawei a role in building the country’s 5G networks, and stated that it is the Cabinet Committee on Security that should lead decision-making on the matter and that, whilst there should be no outright ban on all Chinese vendors, participation should be restricted and tightly regulated.
Ms. Haidar spoke succinctly of the India-China relationship in its wider geopolitical context and invited comments from the two presenters and Dr. Jabin Jacob, a senior China analyst and an Associate Professor at Shiv Nadar University. Questions were taken from an audience that included academicians, journalists, foreign policy practitioners, technology experts, military personnel and students from universities in Delhi/NCR, and international institutions such as University of California, LA and the University of Oxford who attended as part of the ongoing International Summer School (ISS) program.
The Ideashala then branched into a roundtable discussion in which experts deliberated upon recommendations concerning the Kra Canal Project and how India should navigate the geopolitics emerging around 5G. Students also continued to engage with the broader themes on international relations in a Leadership Workshop conducted by Mr. Pai.