In March 2017, the Synergia Forum organized a private discussion with His Excellency Shekhar Dutt, IAS (Retd.) Former Defence Secretary, Deputy NSA & Governor of Chattisgarh, on the topic, “Emerging Global Challenges 2017-20” The decorated war hero, and veteran, accomplished bureaucrat spoke about this issue in the context of how in 2017, we are entering a period of geopolitical recession.
Mr. Tobby Simon, President of the Synergia Foundation set the stage for the discussion by introducing the esteemed speaker. With reference to how the changes in the world geopolitical stage were likely to affect and impact India, HE Shekhar Dutt touched upon a diverse range of points – including - What are the challenges that India will face in the coming months? What would the effects be if the H1B bill becomes law?
Will India continue to be able to access critical technologies from the US? He pointed out that to tackle many of the newer challenges that are being brought up by changes in world leaderships, India needs to see how they can deal with these – through the national will that the country possesses.
“This is the time when the national will should be such that we say ‘this is a great opportunity’…India has a huge potential primarily because of its market size”, he said, adding that it is even possible to envision replacing the TPP with our own mechanisms, in collaboration with European and Asian countries. On the issue of rising ultra-nationalism, he opined that the outcome of this to the people, when coupled with globalization, would be that it would bring about more changes to the economy.
Referencing his prior experience in the agricultural sector, he reminded the audience about the immense energy producing capacity that India has. His discussion opened up several new avenues of thought towards possibilities of novel initiatives and growth for India. HE Shekhar Dutt repeatedly highlighted that the emerging global challenges needs not be envisioned strictly as challenges, but rather as events that initially present themselves as challenges, with immense possibilities and opportunities latent within them.
Touching on issues of self-sufficiency in defense requirements that we face as a country, he remarked that one of the solutions would be to create foundries that are larger, with a capacity far larger than we have thus far. “I think even now, private sector should do it, but aim for securing a certain portion of the market” he said. He added that India’s critical infrastructure is largely dependent on cyber – which creates an inherent vulnerability, which should be carefully looked at. He reminded that ‘many many options have to looked at’ while figuring out the best way to step forward as a country into the emerging global scenario.