India in the 21st Century – Strategic Imperatives

ASIA FORUM with H.E. Mr. Ashok Sajjanhar

Ambassador of India to Sweden and Latvia

Tuesday, February 1, 2011, 10:30-12:00

The first decade of this century has seen far reaching changes in the world. India as the largest democracy, the second largest country in terms of population and the fourth largest economy (in PPP terms) in the World has not been left unaffected by these changes. The 21st century has been called ”Asia’s Century”. As a large country and an important economy, India will have a significant impact on the future course of developments,  not only in Asia but also in the World.

The increasing importance and significance of India can be judged from the fact that all the Five Permanent Members of the UN Security Council visited India in the last 6 months of 2010, 4 of them having come within a short span of 6 weeks. India’s desire for playing a more important role in international affairs by becoming a Permanent Member of the UN Security Council has received increasing and growing support over the last few years. In fact in the elections to the Non-Permanent seat of the UN Security Council, India received 187 out of 190 votes thereby further underlining its strong and impeccable claim for Permanent Membership to that body.

India’s economy has continued to grow at a dynamic pace notwithstanding the international economic crisis in 2007. After having grown at an average of 9-10% over the 5 years before 2007 and by 6.7%in 2008-09 and by 7.5% in 2008-09, India’s GDP is expected to grow at 9% in 2009-10 and rise to double digit figures in the next few years. In addition to services including IT, Tourism, Banking and Financial services, India’s economy continues to grow equally dynamically in the area of manufacturing including pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, infrastructure, automotive components, space etc. India is the Fastest Growing Free market Democracy. An ancient civilisation but a young nation, India with a median age of 24 yrs is poised to provide an additional young work force of 135 million by 2020.

With a stable political system and a vibrant, ambitious and entrepreneurial economic leadership, India looks forward to the 21st century with hope, confidence and optimism.

H.E. Mr. Ashok Sajjanhar, Ambassador of India to Sweden and Latvia, with Honors and Masters Degrees in Physics from Delhi University, commenced his service career as a Staff Officer in one of India’s largest Public Sector Banks – Bank of India. Switching to a career in diplomacy, Mr. Sajjanhar has held several significant positions in Indian Embassies in Moscow, Teheran, Geneva, Dhaka, Bangkok, Washington, Brussels and Astana. Mr. Sajjanhar’s professional interests include International Trade and during his assignment in Geneva from 1988 to 1992, he made significant contribution while representing India in the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Trade negotiations. He continued to negotiate on behalf of India even after the end of his tenure at the Permanent Mission of India in Geneva.

Mr. Sajjanhar has held the position of Director, Indian Foreign Service Institute, New Delhi where he introduced many innovative methods in training curriculum. He has been an active participant in various International Seminars organized by UNCTAD and WTO. He has participated as Resource Person and Speaker at several Conferences on the Multilateral Trading System in Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Papua New Guinea, Seoul, Geneva, etc. A keen proponent of Indian culture, he was the Director of Jawaharlal Nehru Cultural Centre in Moscow where he was instrumental in ushering in a new paradigm in cultural diplomacy. In addition, Mr. Sajjanhar was the Deputy Chief of Mission as well as the Deputy Permanent Representative of India to UN-ESCAP during his assignment in Bangkok from 2000 to 2003. He was Deputy Chief of Mission in the Mission to European Union, Belgium and Luxemburg from 2005 to 2007 and Ambassador of India to Kazakhstan from 2007 to 2010.

Location: ISDP, Västra Finnbodavägen 2, Stockholm-Nacka. For a map and directions, please go here.

To attend: RSVP to Ms. Martina Klimesova at