India’s Foreign Secretary, Vijay Gokhale, recently emphasized that India must emerge as a rule maker in the 21st century, especially in emerging fields of global governance such as cyberspace.
Foreign Secretary Gokhale was speaking at the final panel discussion of the fourth Raisina Dialogue, titled — The Road to 2030: Challenges, Partnerships and Predictions.
Speaking about the big issues and challenges that would define the next decade, Foreign Secretary Gokhale identified three long term trends.
First, the continued tension between unilateralism and multilateralism in international affairs. Second, the continued contradiction between the innovation and productivity gains of ‘industry 4.0,’ and its consequences for jobs and social stability. Finally, a growing gap between rapid strides in emerging technologies, like bio-engineering, and social and personal ethics.
Foreign Secretary Gokhale cautioned however, that the existing rules and institutions of the international system continue to privilege a small set of actors and reflect the realities of the past. He warned that, without reform, this would limit the international communities’ ability to tackle these emerging challenges.
UK’s National Security Advisor and Cabinet Secretary Mark Sedwill said that the most consequential trends in the 21st century are the eastward shift in the concentration to economic power; and the interweaving of the offline world and cyberspace.
He added that we must view cyberspace as a place — “where people live their lives, do business and tackle emerging threats.”
Sedwill said that ‘industry 4.0’ is a catch all phrase that describes a wide range of emerging technologies.
Their development, he said, “would change the pattern of societies more profoundly than any of the past industrial revolutions.”
These events were all taking place even as there is dissatisfaction with globalisation, he cautioned.
Sedwill added that partnerships amongst nations with an interest in a rules based order will better enable the international community to tackle many of these challenges.
Maurice Gourdault-Montagne, Secretary General, Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, France, similarly cautioned that there is growing uncertainty in the international order.
He made three major predictions about the future: First, the tendency amongst states to prioritize self-interest will continue for some time. Second, that issues based alliances will proliferate if the international order continues to fragment. Finally, he was optimistic that the EU will find mechanisms to reform and address growing inequality and populism.
Secretary General Montagne acknowledged that the ‘West’ no longer drives the international order, and that a certain reordering of the international system is necessary.
He cited France’s long standing support for India’s efforts to reform the UN and obtain a permanent seat in the Security Council.
Speaking more broadly about relations with India, Secretary General Montagne said that France and India are cooperating on international security in the Indo-Pacific, and on providing global public goods through the international solar alliance.
Partnerships like these, he believed, would be critical to reforming the international system.