In the sixth edition of our flagship annual journal of essays, the Raisina Files, we seek to take stock of where we are as people, communities, and countries. We intend to discuss and clarify responses to challenges that have arisen due to the pandemic, and discover and chart pathways to opportunities in the post-COVID19 world. Our contributors engage with the new war in Europe, and its consequences for the region and the world. Most importantly, the fine minds who have penned the essays that follow, seek to describe what lies ahead, how it will be arranged, who will shape it, and who will likely benefit from what unfolds.
Raisina Files 2022 mirrors the theme of this year’s Raisina Dialogue, “Terra Nova: Impassioned, Impatient, and Imperilled.” We have identified six pillars and areas of discussion within this overarching theme to engage with critically—Rethinking Democracy: Trade, Tech, and Ideology; End of Multilateralism: A Networked Global Order?; Water Caucuses: Turbulent Tides in the Indo-Pacific; Communities Inc.: First Responders to Health, Development, and Planet; Achieving Green Transitions: Common Imperative, Diverging Realities; and Samson vs Goliath: The Persistent and Relentless Tech Wars. Together, these six pillars of the Raisina Dialogue capture the multitude of conversations, opportunities, and anxieties countries engage and grapple with.
In this volume:
Editors: Samir Saran and Anahita Khanna
- The DragonBear: Putin’s Choices | Velina Tchakarova
- Forging China-Resistant Supplier Compacts | Jeffrey Jeb Nadaner
- Democracy, Technology, Geopolitics | Sameer Patil and Vivek Mishra
- Materials That Matter | Andreas Kuehn
- Scripting a Third Way: The Importance of EU-India Partnership | Amrita Narlikar
- Emerging Domains of Conflict in the 21st Century| Lydia Kostopoulos
- Advancing Trade Governance – Only for Democracies? | Renato G. Flôres Jr.
- The World in Disarray: Is This the End of Multilateralism for Trade? | Stormy-Annika Mildner
- Anticipate, Reform, and Elevate: Looking Toward W20 India 2023 | Erin Watson-Lynn
- The Pandemic at 24 Months | Sridhar Venkatapuram
- The Season of Caucuses: QUAD, AUKUS, and the Exclusive-Inclusive Duality of Indo-Pacific Asia | Rory Medcalf
- Oceanic Choices: India, Japan, and the Dragon’s Fire: How does the QUAD Work? | Satoru Nagao
- Diverging US and Indian Approaches to Europe: The Problem of Ukraine | S. Paul Kapur
- India’s Unicorn Step-Function Growth Signals the Emergence of its Innovation Ecosystem | Nisha Holla
- Exploring the Inequities of Climate Finance | Mannat Jaspal and Terri B. Chapman
- Enabling the Green Transition to be a Just Transition | Nuvodita Singh and Akshima Ghate
- Meta-Soft Power: Flipping the Scales Between Art & Culture | Nicolò Andreula and Stefania Petruzzelli
Co-Authored with Amrita Narlikar
The talk of values is not new to German foreign policy-makers. But the Russian invasion on Ukraine seems to have finally led Germany to walk the walk. The last week has been both frenzied and path-breaking in German politics.
On 22 February, Germany’s Chancellor, Olaf Scholz—a Social Democrat from Hamburg—called for a halt to Nord Stream 2, in response to Russian President, Vladimir Putin’s, provocations in Eastern Ukraine. This was dramatic at several levels: Germany’s energy dependence on Russia had tended to make some politicians—including Scholz’s predecessor, Angela Merkel (a Christian Democrat)—wary of pulling the plug on the pipeline project. Scholz deserves even more credit for having made this break with Germany’s Russia policy in the context of party politics: The Social Democrats had come under critique in the past for being too soft on Russia (Russlandversteher).
Germany’s difficult past had led it to ban the export of weapons to conflict-zones; in keeping with this practice, the country had blocked Estonia from sending arms to Ukraine last month.
Since the outbreak of war in Ukraine on 24 February, Olaf Scholz has taken three further remarkable steps. First, after some hesitation, he has agreed to the inclusion of a ban on SWIFT transactions with Russia. This is a strong and costly signal to send to Russia as it will also have financial implications for Germany. Second, Germany’s difficult past had led it to ban the export of weapons to conflict-zones; in keeping with this practice, the country had blocked Estonia from sending arms to Ukraine last month. Olaf Scholz engineered an unprecedented shift. In a stirring speech at a special session of the German Parliament on 27 February, Scholz stated that Germany, by supporting Ukraine, will stand on the side of Europe, democracy, and the “the right side of history”. Amongst the concrete measures he outlined, sending military supplies to Ukraine was key: “Russian invasion marks a turning point. It is our duty to support Ukraine to the best of our ability in defending against Putin’s invading army”. Germany will now be supplying anti-tank weapons and Stinger missiles to Ukraine. And third, just as significant is Germany’s announcement to increase its NATO defence spending, thereby signaling the emergence of Germany as a security actor.
In a country where deliberative democracy is exalted (sometimes to a point where it amounts to being a strategy to doing nothing or muddling through), and the burden of history is high, the swift turn towards taking greater responsibility through action cannot be underestimated. Scholz’s leadership has been critical to this development, though he is undoubtedly helped by his coalition partners in the Green Party, who have come to power on a platform of principles and values. Germany’s proactive role is invigorating for us to observe, and is perhaps also serving as a catalyst for the European Union: Witness the unprecedented decision by the EU to purchase weapons for Ukraine.
One could still take issue with the timing of all this: It would have indeed been better to signal such resolve to Putin before his attack on Ukraine, thereby, deterring war in the first place. But at a time when Germany seems to be finally walking the walk of values, it is time to not look behind, but fare forward.
Germany’s proactive role is invigorating for us to observe, and is perhaps also serving as a catalyst for the European Union: Witness the unprecedented decision by the EU to purchase weapons for Ukraine.
It is clear that Scholz has understood the importance of hard power, in a way that his predecessors had not. As a dedicated European, he also knows that the Putin’s aggression towards Ukraine is a threat to European security as a whole. The question remains though, will he be able to extend his gaze to the global stage, and exercise much-needed leadership there? Putin is not the only authoritarian with grand designs in his neighbourhood; President Xi has been displaying similar adventurism towards Taiwan. The Ukraine crisis has brought these two players even closer, thus far. Will Scholz be the Chancellor to break out of the European platitudes of “partner, competitor, and rival” and finally call out China, just the way he has with Russia? As Mayor of Hamburg, Scholz was able to successfully attract Chinese investment to his city. As the Chancellor of Germany, he now has the onerous task of building a governance architecture that will secure the continent—and like-minded, democratic partners—from Chinese expansionism.
Raisina Files 2021 aims to engage with the leitmotifs of this past pandemic year, mirroring the theme of the Raisina Dialogue 2021, “#ViralWorld: Outbreaks, Outliers and Out of Control”. Within this overarching theme, we have identified five pillars and areas of discussion to critically engage with—WHOse Multilateralism? Reconstructing the UN and Beyond; Securing and Diversifying Supply Chains; Global ‘Public Bads’: Holding Actors and Nations to Account; Infodemic: Navigating a ‘No-Truth’ World in the Age of Big Brother; and, finally, the Green Stimulus: Investing in Gender, Growth and Development. Together, these five pillars of the Raisina Dialogue capture the multitude of conversations and anxieties countries are engaging and grappling with.
Raisina Files is an annual ORF publication that brings together emerging and established voices in a collection of essays on key, contemporary questions that are implicating the world and India.
In this volume
Editors: Samir Saran, Preeti Lourdes John
- Emerging Narratives and the Future of Multilateralism | Amrita Narlikar
- Diplomacy in a Divided World | Melissa Conley Tyler
- Is A Cold War 2.0 Inevitable? | Velina Tchakarova
- Trust But Verify: A Narrative Analysis Of “Trusted” Tech Supply Chains | Trisha Ray
- Can The World Collaborate Amid Vaccine Nationalism | Shamika Ravi
- A Nuclear Insecurity: How Can We Tame The Proliferators | Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan
- De Facto Shared Sovereignty And The Rise Of Non-State Statecraft: Imperatives For Nation-States | Lydia Kostopoulus
- Digital Biases: The Chimera Of Equality And Access | Nanjira Sambuli
- The Infodemic: Regulating The New Public Square | Kara Frederick
- How Finance Can Deliver Real Environmental And Climate Impact | Geraldine Ang
- Unlocking Capital For Climate Response In The Emerging World | Kanika Chawla
- Putting Women Front And Centre Of India’s Green Recovery Process | Shloka Nath, Isha Chawla, Shailja Mehta
- Investing In Material Innovation Is Investing In India’s Future | Nisha Holla
India’s strong growth in recent years has outstripped job creation and poverty remains a key challenge. But in the face of the changing world of work Terri Chapman and Samir Saran, Social Policy Specialist and Associate Fellow and Vice President at India’s Observer Research Foundation, explain how perceived problems in the economy can become opportunities.
India’s sustained average growth rate of 7% over the last decade has not been accompanied by sufficient growth in employment. While half of India’s population is below the age of 26, the increasing demand for jobs is not being met by the creation of sufficient new economic opportunities. The annual demand for new jobs in India is estimated at 12-15 million, leaving India with a shortage of between 4-7 million jobs each year. This is further compounded by the 300 million people of working-age outside of the labour force. India’s official unemployment rate of 3.5% masks the magnitude of the jobs crunch.
The extent and severity of poverty in India provides further impetus for addressing the jobs challenge. One in five people live on less than USD 1.90 per day, and more than half of the population lives on less than USD 3 a day (2011 PPP). High rates of employment in low-skilled, low-wage and low-productivity occupations only exacerbate this condition. India has a working poverty rate of 20%. Increasing both individual and household incomes will need to be at the centre of policies designed to address the employment challenge.
Two characteristics of the Indian economy that have historically constrained growth may actually provide new opportunities in the context of a changing economy. The first is a disproportionate share of microenterprises, with 98% of companies employing fewer than 10 workers; the second is the high rate of informality, with 90% of employment generated in the informal sector. In an increasingly digital- and service-based economy these characteristics could, in fact, create efficiencies. Three strategies should be undertaken to leverage these opportunities: upgrading skills and capabilities; supporting microenterprise and self-employment; and creating new models for social protection.
The service sector is providing immense opportunities for job creation in both traditional and emerging sub-sectors. Currently, this sector accounts for 60% of GDP and 30% of employment. Continued growth in domestic and export services is expected it and will be increasingly important in the face of uncertainty in the manufacturing sector, where employment has stagnated at 22%. Changes in manufacturing processes, especially the potential for increased automation, will limit the benefits of labour-intensive growth. Structural shifts in the economy due to digitalisation are altering the kinds of jobs being created and the skills required for individuals to remain competitive. In order to help workers adapt to changing demand, India must develop an enhanced skills development framework. Such a framework should be accessible, driven by demand, linked to employment opportunities and enable individuals to quickly up-skill and re-skill.
The adoption of digital technologies and emergence of digital platforms, such as in e-commerce and digital financial systems, are improving the business viability of microenterprises in India. Additionally, India’s microfirms create direct employment and should be an essential part of its employment strategy. In order to support inclusive growth among micro and small-sized firms, India must improve financial connectivity and reorient its skills development strategy. Further, in order to take full advantage of the employment potential of the digital economy, it is essential to improve and secure digital infrastructure to enable equal access to digital technologies and reduce the digital divide.
As the digital economy begins to generate new opportunities in India, it will be characterised by increased contract work and self-employment. This should be met with new models of social protection and strategies that mitigate risks of shifting labour relations. Social safety nets and social benefits that are typically linked to employment should be accessible to individuals directly. Potential issues such as depressed wages, low productivity, and economic insecurity need to be managed through new policy frameworks.
A changing global economic environment, structural changes to the Indian economy and digital transformations have the potential to greatly exacerbate the employment challenge. At the same time, a major opportunity for India stems from its existing economic structure that is dominated by the informal sector. New digital technologies will allow India to catalyse growth. Given global trends towards informalisation and self-employment, India is at a strategic advantage to avoid substantial structural adjustments.
India has the opportunity to drive growth from the informal sector, while simultaneously creating stronger linkages between the state and individuals through new, digitally-enabled social protection mechanisms. This opportunity will be accompanied by a major challenge: to effectively skill, up-skill and re-skill India’s workforce. The immensity of this undertaking is compounded by the lack of a quality formal education among large parts of the population. It is imperative that India leverages digital technologies to bring workers into the labour force, connects individuals to social protection systems and finds ways to effectively prepare people for a changing employment landscape.
Raisina Files 2018 unpacks disruption and its interaction with global politics. Disruptive forces have been grouped along the lines of actors, processes, and theatres: three major nation-states whose external engagements are seeing shifts; three processes that are re-organising political, economic, and social spaces; and two old and new arenas where geopolitics are having local, regional, and global repercussions.
Raisina Files, an annual ORF publication, is a collection of essays published and disseminated at the time of the Raisina Dialogue. It strives to engage and provoke readers on key contemporary questions and situations that will implicate the world and India in the coming years. Arguments and analyses presented in this collection will be useful in taking discussions forward and enunciating policy suggestions for an evolving Asian and world order.
- Debating Disruption: Change and Continuity | Ritika Passi and Harsh V. Pant, ORF
- Is the US a disruptor of world order? | Robert J. Lieber, Georgetown University
- Russia as a disruptor of the Post-Cold War order: To what effect? | Dmitri Trenin, Carnegie Moscow
- China as a disruptor of the international order: A Chinese View | Yun Sun, Stimson Center
- Globalisation, demography, technology, and new political anxieties | Samir Saran and Akhil Deo, ORF
- Minority Report, Illiberalism, intolerance, and the threat to international society | Manu Bhagavan, Hunter College
- Fourth Industrial Revolution: Evolving Impact | Pranjal Sharma, author, Kranti Nation
- Revolutionary Road: Indo-Pacific in Transition | Abhijnan Rej, ORF
- Middle East: Cascading Conflict | Tally Helfont, Foreign Policy Research Institute
- Climate Change, Transitions, and Geopolitics | Karina Barquet, Stockholm Environment Institute
Read here – orfonline.org/research/debating-disruption-world-order/