GLOBAL INDIA FOUNDATION: CHENNAI CHAPTER LAUNCHED - A brief report by Dr. Lopamudra Bandyopadhyay

A Consultation Meeting on the Chennai Chapter of Global India Foundation was held on Monday, August 18, 2008, at Narmada Hall, Courtyard By Marriott Hotel, Anna Salai, Chennai. The meeting was attended by eminent dignitaries from the academic, the defence, the administrative as well as the business community of Chennai. The meeting was primarily held to outline a future plan for the Chennai Chapter of the Foundation. The Foundation was represented by Admiral P.J. Jacob (Chairman, Global India Foundation), Prof. Omprakash Mishra (Member Secretary, Global India Foundation), Mr. Khalid Mehkri (Member, Executive Council, Global India Foundation) and Dr. Lopamudra Bandyopadhyay (Fellow, Global India Foundation). The meeting was hosted by Doshi Housing Ltd., represented by Mr. Mehul Doshi and Mrs. Hetal Doshi , and Mr. P. J. George, an eminent advocate from Chennai.

The meeting commenced with Mr. P. J. George inviting Admiral Jacob, Prof. Mishra and Mr. Ramesh Kymal (Managing-Director, Vestas, India) to begin the proceedings. Admiral Jacob outlined the necessity for the establishment of the Foundation and spoke at length about the need for a Channai Chapter of the Foundation. His speech was followed by a presentation by Dr. Lopamudra Bandyopadhyay on the ongoing projects and programmes of GIF as well as the work that has been done since its inception. Prof. Mishra then spoke on the future plans of GIF, including the global conference on “India as a Global Player: Challenges Ahead,” that would be held in the near future. He elucidated the philosophy of the Foundation while reiterating on the Foundation’s stated objective of promoting ‘National Resilience’ and ‘International Interdependence’.

(Pic A) (Pic B)

Pic A: From left to right : Prof Omprakash Mishra, Member Secretary, GIF, Admiral P. J. Jacob, Chairman, GIF, .Mr. Ramesh Kymal, Managing Director, Vestas India, Pic B: An overview of the participants

Mr. Ramesh Kymal was initiated as the President of the Chennai Chapter of Global India Foundation. Considering Mr. Kymal’s expertise in the field of Energy Security, his association with the Foundation should prove particularly beneficial. Mr. Kymal welcomed the Foundation’s foray into the academic community of South India.

Once the floor was thrown open for discussion, there were quite a few relevant questions, comments and suggestions that ensued from the participants. Prof. Gopalji Malviya, Department of Defence and Strategic Studies, University of Madras, stated that southern India would be an extremely fertile terrain for the objectives of GIF. While speaking about the macro and micro level parameters he said that the new think tank would be in public interest, and cater to the interests of the student community and the civil society in the region.

Mr. N. Vittal, former Central Vigilance Commissioner, raised few pertinent questions. He suggested that the Foundation should focus on working towards making India not only a global player, but also a comprehensive national, military and economic power. He raised important questions on the Indo-US Nuclear Deal as well as other issues relating to energy. He also highlighted the importance of harnessing India’s power as an emerging player in the contemporary international order and concluded that an action plan should be formulated to make India a comprehensive national power.
Commodore S. Shekhar spoke at length comparing India’s military capability with that of China. He asked the Foundation to focus more on inculcating national will and embarking upon the same through the mode of a more detailed programme. Prof. S. Chella Rajan, from IIT, Madras, spoke on the need for further research on climate change and environmental sustainability. Others in the audience, eminent academicians and bureaucrats, wished to know more about alternative global governance as well as stressed on the need for a critical reflection on the emerging world order. Emphasis was also laid on the concept of the paradigm of knowledge as power and the rediscovery of India’s strategic culture.

In response to the queries and comments, Prof. Mishra stated that the time was once again ripe for India to work towards a global balance of interests and opportunities through flexible coalitions. He further spoke at length about the need for a fresh look at India’s foreign policy doctrines in the light of the changing world scenario. Admiral Jacob (Chairman, GIF) concluded the meeting by proposing a vote of thanks. He thanked eminent personalities like Mr. Ramesh Kymal (Managing-Director, Vestas, India), Maj. Gen. EJ Kochekkan, AVSM, SM, VSM (General Officer Commanding, Chennai) and Mrs. Kochekkan, Inspector Gen. SPS Basra, YSM, PTM, TM, Cmde Van Haltern, Mr. P. J. George (Advocate), Mr.Venu Prasad (Entrepreneur), Mr. Amit Varma (IPS), Mr. K. V. Ramana Shetty (Entrepreneur) and other participants for ensuring the success of the meeting. The meeting concluded with the announcement that Mr. Kymal would be the President of the Chennai Chapter of the Foundation, while other office bearers and committee members would be nominated once the Chapter begins its formal journey.