Address by Shri Jagdeep Dhankhar, Honourable Vice President to participants of the International Strategic Engagement Programme (IN-STEP) in New Delhi on March 21, 2024.

New Delhi | March 21, 2024

I welcome you all to uprashtrapati Nivas for this very significant interaction. I am grateful to NDC for organising it.

It is an absolute delight to be amongst distinguished participants of inaugural International Strategic Engagement Programme (IN-STEP).- a farsighted   initiative fostering global cooperation and shared understanding on strategic matters of profound importance.

Bharat is home to one sixth of humanity, with its civilisational ethos of peace and harmony coupled with constitutionally structured and functional democracy at all levels, is an obvious pacemaker for global peace.

IN-STEP two week strategic engagement at NDC New Delhi under the aegis of the National Security Council Secretariat, Ministry of External Affairs, and Ministry of Defence is a timely collaborative endeavour with participation of International delegates from 21 countries and 8 Indian officers.

I gather that the National Defence College and the Vivekananda International Foundation have thoughtfully curated this much needed insightful program in strategic domain.

Over two weeks of seminars and interactive sessions would for sure be rewarding.

It is a significant occasion to explore a diverse array of topics - from geopolitical dynamics and security challenges to diplomatic negotiations and conflict resolution strategies.

Global peace and security are fundamental to growth. Peace is best secured from position of strength. Ever preparedness for war is safest passage to peaceful environment.

There has been over the years sea change in security concerns and methodology to address the same. Gone are the days of conventional warfare and security threats.

Now technological advancement and onslaught of disruptive technologies have direct bearing on all issues concerning security. 

Conflagrations in any part of the world turn out to be global challenge. Resolutions can emanate from collaborative endeavours. Isolation approach is now a matter of the past. 

In such a fast changing geo political and strategic scenario, this knowledge exchange will play pivotal role. It will help understand and address contemporaneously intricate geopolitical landscape and challenges. 

World today is grappling as never before with existential challenges in the shape of multitude of complex issues - climate change, pandemics, terrorism, cyber threats, and organized disruption of global order on space, seas and land and more.

Compounding these challenges is the rapidly evolving realm of information dissemination, free fall of information where social media is revolutionizing how narratives are shaped and interactions occur.

Sinister designs with pernicious motivations are set afloat in a manner that machine learning becomes very relevant. These are the issues you all will be grappling. I don't wish to get deep into them.

Navigating these shifts adeptly to drive positive change has become imperative for constructive and resilient global cooperation. This is one such platform to go beyond surface scratching and resolutely delve deep to calibrate responses in tackling conflagrations and global issues.  

IN-STEP underscores our shared commitment to mutual dialogue and working in togetherness as the bedrock of effective policymaking and conflict resolution.

The need for nations to engage in meaningful discourse has never been greater than in these turbulent times. Conflagrations in any part of the globe impacts global economy and supply chains beyond confronting nations. Solution to such conflagrations lies in diplomacy and dialogue as emphasised by the Hon’ble Prime Minister Modi.  

This program is unique as there is convergence of a rich tapestry of perspectives from the Indian Armed Forces, Paramilitary, Foreign Services, and representatives from 21 foreign nations. Such diverse representation reflects our collective resolve to foster international cooperation and unity amidst our differences.

I have no doubt when you will, for over 2 weeks, engage into deliberative sessions. Surely there will be connectedness, greater understanding, appreciation that will lead to resolutions of issues to the benefit of one and all.

Every nation yearns for peace, security and development. Yet achieving these aspirations demands tackling multifaceted, interconnected challenges necessitating comprehensive and coordinated responses.

What is alarmingly worrisome is that these problems are getting complicated not arithmetically but geometrically, requiring corresponding response from groups like you so that we neutralize these challenges in most impactful manner.

Analyzing complexities and developing adaptive strategies rooted in our core values is critical.

This calls for transcending traditional thought processes. The traditional mechanism is no longer invoke because conventional Warfare has totally changed. conventional mechanism have yielded to different type of technology and methodology.

By pooling our expertise and experiences, we can leverage our collective strengths to surmount common obstacles and seize shared opportunities. Such events are appropriate way forward stance.

India, with its rich heritage, has long embraced the ethos of "Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam" - the world is one family.

This has been our guiding principle for thousands of years. This was amply demonstrated during pandemic covid by helping our own people, India came forward to help 100 other countries.

This guiding principle was amply evident during its year-long G20 Presidency, emphasizing cooperation, inclusivity and mutual respect as it catalysed the inclusion of African Union while rising as the voice of Global South.

India is no longer a nation with potential or a sleeping giant as some indicated. It is on the rise and the rise is unstoppable. India's extraordinary growth story transcends skeptics, exemplifying visionary leadership, inclusive development and unwavering perseverance.

And always remember this big changes phenomenal growth and exponential achievements are taking place in a country that is habitat to 1.4 billion people.

Amidst today's dynamic geopolitics, India's unprecedented rise stands out. With an expanding economy, effective diplomacy and growing soft power, obvious emergence as a pivotal global player the world looks to India for catalyzing affirmative ecosystem for peace. This is a significant initiative in this direction.

India also leads in harnessing disruptive technologies like AI, blockchain, renewable energy and biotechnology to address challenges and complement its human capital. Friends, National Quantum Mission as also National Green Hydrogen Mission are harbinger of unleashing latest technology.

There was time decades ago this Nation used to wait for  evolution of technology else where, now this nation is in front rank in the big league of taking initiative in unleashing these energies for the welfare of larger humanity.

By pioneering such innovations, India fosters a future-ready ecosystem for sustainable global growth and prosperity.

India remains committed to engaging like-minded nations to nurture and sustain global peace, stability and harmony.

India has unique position. Indian never engaged in expansion, India never give up the path of peace and dialogue and always remember in the comity of nation. India with 1.4 billion people is a functional structured democracy with high credibility. India remains committed to engaging therefore with one and all.

Aligning our interests allows amplifying our collective voice to shape a world order reflecting our shared aspirations.

European union was already member of G20. Look at a historic development when G20 presidency was with India. African union was included. That's a very very significant step.

Rise of Bharat in economy and global reputation is an assurance for global peace and harmony. Nations can rise in power, Nations can achieve big technological achievements but does it sync with global peace and harmony.

I say with commitment and confidence India's rise in economy and technology with the greatest assurance to world peace, harmony and global order.

The cross-pollination of ideas from varied backgrounds is IN-STEP's most invaluable aspect. It will embrace open and constructive dialogue to broaden horizons, challenge assumptions and arrive at holistic solutions.

It is the time when we must challenge assumptions. Our assumptions are not firmed up on factual ground reality; we can no longer allow these assumptions to put us on the back foot; such kind of interactive session of brilliant minds would certainly give a  passage for effective emergence of technology and strategies.

May your experience be enriching, enlightening and empowering. And may the bonds forged transcend this program, enduring as a lasting legacy of friendship and global partnership.

I am grateful to the NDC for making available to me this opportunity to reveal my some of thoughts to such brilliant minds.

I wish you great success in this endeavours so as to preserve this planet for future generations in a manner as all of us would like

Thank you!