18 March 2010 - 20 March 2010

Is India ready for super-power status?

Chair: Ambassador Frank Wisner

Next in our series of conferences on emerging countries was this look at India, a subject which Ditchley had treated as recently as 2004.  No-one was in any doubt, however, that it was time to look again.  We were lucky to have a company at the table with huge experience of the country, both internal and external;  and we were particularly fortunate in gathering, in the most open-minded way, the thoughts of Indians themselves, who allowed us to see from an Indian perspective what the next decade might hold.

Several participants questioned the title.  The term “superpower”, they contended, had an anachronistic feel to it.  India was not attempting to collect the attributes of a superpower, especially not in hard power terms.  Nevertheless, the debate revealed a consciousness in India about its growing weight in the world, comprising the view that the dominance of the western world lay in the past, a sense of at least partial rivalry with China and an expectation that India’s economy might, later this century, be the world’s largest.  Setting terminology aside, no-one was trying to argue that India, for all the significant domestic challenges it faced, would not have the impact of a top-rank power within the next generation or so.  Something of historic importance was taking place in and around India, in a fevered global environment in which change in the short term was often over-estimated, but the impact of longer-term trends under-estimated.  We were reminded of that powerful quote from Nehru in 1947, describing independence as “a moment rare in history, when the old turns into the new, and the soul of a nation long-suppressed finds utterance”.  We felt that there was a lot of utterance still to come.

India internal
We had a very good discussion of what was happening inside India itself, with its extraordinary mix of different races and languages, its huge inequalities and its dynamic upper-level economy all contained within the vigorous but contentious structure of a single democracy.  We were reminded forcefully of the stark division, perhaps greater even than China’s, between the 260 million or so Indians belonging to the new and vibrant economy (with the richest million equating to Luxembourg, the top 10 million to Belgium and the wealthiest 60 million having a higher per capita income than the average of Germany, France and the UK) and the nearly 850 million Indians living on less than 20 rupees a day.  It was the first group that captured all the headlines, while the second was virtually ignored.   Yet it was this submerged seven-eighths that presented the single most important and complex challenge that India’s democracy faced. 

We asked how much this mattered when the economy was growing at almost the same pace as China’s.  Some were confident that economic growth was a tide which lifted all boats and that the benefits of growth would gradually seep downwards.  Others argued forcefully that the new economic dynamism was making only the upper end wealthier and that the result would be even greater inequality and injustice than before.  This division was never resolved, although there were those in the middle who believed that there were elements of truth in both analyses and that economic growth just had to be managed wisely.

So we turned to looking at the main problem areas that needed to be addressed.  Prominent amongst these were governance, the infrastructure and employment.  India perhaps had further to go than any major economy to improve not just its network of roads, railways and airports, but to deliver electricity, water and other essential supplies to the whole population.  The fact that between four and five hundred million people still lacked electricity was a big enough indicator in itself.  The focus of the economy was increasingly turning to the big urban centres, because sustainable growth would not happen without steady industrialisation.  Yet a huge proportion of the population still depended on the land.  This raised significant issues of employment, because the Indian public sector was unable to meet the challenge of creating jobs and the manufacturing sector was likely to reflect a much greater use of capital than labour.  Even investment in agriculture, making production more efficient, would as in other places take people off the land rather than create employment.  There was no sign that this was being addressed in a constructive way. 

In the other direction people pointed to the inventiveness and resourcefulness of Indians.  82% of the population had access to a television set somewhere;  and 500 million cellphone subscriptions were being paid.  It might not take much to motivate larger numbers of Indians to take advantage of the economic opportunities.  Yet central to this thought was the need for a more efficient education sector.  Indians fully understood the value of education and were capable of taking advantage of it, but there were far too few places available at the tertiary level and the quality of the primary and secondary levels supplying it was still much too low.  Investment was needed as never before.  Again, this conference was unable to say that the appropriate energy and urgency were being directed at it.  A programme was needed, for instance, to increase the numbers in tertiary education from 20 to 70 million (a gap equalling almost the whole population of the UK), which would only be possible with a strong international input.

Participants who were unaware of India’s internal security challenges were shocked to hear of the scale of insurgent violence in at least one third of the states, a proportion which might be growing.  There was a degree of tolerance of this which would not be possible in the western world.  Yet it could not just be left to grow as the inequalities increased.  Many participants felt that the response of the authorities was too heavily concentrated on the use of force.  A mix of local development assistance and negotiation was going to be necessary.  This led us into a discussion of whether a more deliberate strategy of devolution from the centre to the localities would not be the right way to go.  Not only were state and local governments beginning to take more of the initiative in education, health and business development programmes, but civil society was also beginning to organise itself better.  Central government ought to recognise and encourage the trend, which might also have benefits for security and stability.

As for the quality of governance itself, most participants thought that huge problems remained.  Bureaucratic blockages were constant and corruption and accountability remained serious challenges.  The protection of government officials against dismissal, the lack of funding for election expenses, jealousy of private sector wealth and the growing number of elections themselves all created a climate that encouraged corruption.  This was not only inefficient, it also de-legitimised India’s rulers from both the internal and the overseas perspectives.  With corruption so entrenched, counter-measures were difficult to introduce, but several participants believed that devolution would in itself help address this picture.  We also saw hope in the introduction of e-government in some areas, which would help efficiency and accountability.

The other great determinant of change for the better, many people thought, was democracy itself.  Incumbents were often turned out of office and the debate about accountability was beginning to gather momentum. Others pointed to the loyalty of the poorest voters to their voting habits, together with a high degree of acceptance of an autocratic approach from their favourite champions.  This was an unpredictable mix, but participants believed that the fact that democracy was firmly rooted in India provided an opportunity for negotiated rather than violent outcomes.

In the end, the conference saw per capita income as a central criterion.  Even if India continued to grow its economy at current rates, it would take decades to exceed a per capita GDP of over $10,000.  Both China and India, for all their global impact, were more conscious of this than external observers who focussed on absolute size, because inequalities would continue to breed severe internal problems.  If economic growth was the only motivator, the sheer weight of those who questioned “what’s in it for us?” would make itself felt.  We all hoped that the democratic nature of India would make the country as a whole adaptable enough for the problems not to outweigh the opportunities. 

The region
As if India did not have enough problems internally, the country was living in a region as crisis-ridden as any.  Central to this were the heavy tensions surrounding the India-Pakistan relationship and the conflict in Afghanistan.  But, even beyond these, India had to come to terms with the uncertainties of the new Asia.  A number of continental powers were aspiring to a new status, not just China but also Iran, the Republic of Korea, the South East Asian new economies and Indonesia, with Japan still needing to determine how its future fitted in with this new environment.  India had to judge its interactions with all of these.

Few people quarrelled with the description of the India-Pakistan relationship as India’s greatest external problem. Issues that the outside world felt should have been settled decades ago still needed to be cleared away.  We placed a general hope on the capacity of both states to take forward bilateral discussions, but these had led to far too little so far.  Pakistan’s own delicate political evolution, partly generated by its own history and partly aggravated by the crisis in Afghanistan, lowered the chances of a new departure.  With some pushback from the Indians present, a number of participants felt that India, as the great power of the region, had to take some responsibility for a search for stability.  India would itself benefit if Pakistan produced greater stability from its democratic transition.  As for Kashmir, there were those who believed that addressing the problem directly would not be possible before Pakistan took steps to reduce the jihadi problem.  Others saw this as just prolonging the tension when India, with its growing global status, needed to rise above the past and take the lead in looking for a settlement.  India, after all, had its own domestic reasons for improving the lives of its Kashmiri citizens.  No-one, however, saw any early breakthrough as being likely. 

We also pointed to, but could not resolve, the negative consequences of further jihadi activity if not constrained.  Another Mumbai, added to the growing difficulties over internal insurgencies, might see a loss of Indian patience which could turn things critical at any moment.  We could all see how hard it would be for India to keep its response to a “surgical” level.  This was a set of threats which had a significance for more than just India and Pakistan themselves.  When nuclear issues were set alongside this picture, its full serious potential could be recognised.  We noted the tendency of Indians to suggest that the United States should put pressure on Pakistan to keep jihadist activity under control, but we wondered whether this was a realistic way forward when America was so focussed on the outcome in Afghanistan.  Had any of these three countries got their strategic priorities right?

We could see that, of all the countries in the region, Pakistan had the most vital interests engaged in Afghanistan;  and it was this close involvement and sensitivity which made Pakistanis feel that India might not be playing a helpful role, from their viewpoint, in the country.  No other state, however, not even India or the United States, needed to have this level of strategic engagement.  Indian voices at the conference were themselves pretty clear about that and adamant that India was not seeking to do anything inimical to Pakistan’s interests.  Nevertheless the consequences of a deterioration in the situation, affecting the Pushtuns on either side of the Durand line, could quite easily affect India’s national interests as well.  There was a suggestion that India could be more constructive in seeking an overall regional solution to the Afghanistan problem, but we could see that this raised a number of difficult questions. 

We therefore took a close look at the options which might be available to India in this situation.  While India might want the United States to be engaged in Afghanistan in perpetuity, this was unlikely to happen.  So it was when the United States began to scale down its effort that India’s concerns might be sharpest.  We saw the options as being as follows:

(i)                 India might conclude that its vital interests were not involved in Afghanistan and back off to some extent.

(ii)               India might try to reach an accommodation with Pakistan on Afghanistan, which they could promote together.  However, there was no current sign of any interest either in Delhi or in Islamabad in that approach.

(iii)             India might put its own troops on the ground in Afghanistan to defend its national interests after the US left.  It was unlikely that the Indian government would find the resources or the public support for that.

(iv)             As the US withdrew, India might decide to re-energise its relationship with the Northern Alliance and other elements likely to be more friendly to India, while also reinvigorating its partnerships with Russia and Iran on this front.  The implications of this were fraught with risk, as it could well reignite a civil war inside Afghanistan, together with a deterioration in the India-Pakistan relationship.

(v)               Finally, India could take a lead in organising a serious regional and international effort, involving the UN and the United States as well as regional states, in promoting a political reconciliation in Afghanistan.  It would be necessary to see a changed Indian view of the Taliban in Afghanistan and an acceptance of a coalition approach to Afghan governance. 

This provoked a vigorous discussion.  Some saw the fourth option, bringing India back to the Northern Alliance, as the one that would be left if all the others were seen as too difficult in practice.  India’s capacity to revitalise its relationship with Russia and Iran would be a significant component of this, causing some anxieties in the US and elsewhere.  Others viewed this as a thoroughly unsatisfactory and dangerous option and hoped that India would not be inclined to go that route.  There would be a violent reaction from the Taliban and very possibly an intensification of the current conflict.  Those with experience of Afghanistan from outside the region were much more inclined to put their weight behind an international solution to the problem, along the lines of option (v), and following the example of the 2001-02 Bonn process.  If the Taliban, or some of them, were approached as part of the negotiation, Pakistan would have to be included in the activity, as the Pakistanis would need to be persuaded that their interests were fully protected in such an approach.  It was important to recognise that an Afghanistan which was stable and friendly to Pakistan would not necessarily be against Indian interests.  Such an approach would mean a decision by India to look at the interests of the region as a whole, which would fit well with a growing capacity to play a global role in the biggest international challenges.  Delhi would certainly find difficulties in reaching such a conclusion when India’s relationship with Pakistan was so complicated in other ways.  But it was a sign of the cautious optimism in our company that India could grow into such a role that led us to give this option careful consideration. 

India’s global role
This connected well with our discussion at other points of India’s global role.  Comparisons with China, and India’s relationship with China, came into our debate at frequent intervals.  There were circumstances, not least in the conduct of business in the G20 and within negotiations on climate change and global trade, where it was possible to see the potential for Indian-Chinese cooperation.  In other ways we saw the relationship as being fundamentally competitive, partly because of history, ideology and internal make-up and partly because in the twenty-first century world they would be tripping over each other in accessing trade, energy and other resources.  In the end the conference took a fairly pragmatic view about how things would develop.  Growing Indian-Chinese economic ties would have their own beneficial effect;  their need together to manage the implications of a diminishing western influence over the developing world would make itself felt;  and the implications of a bilateral enmity would be too strong not to try another route.  Nevertheless there was a great deal to be managed:  the disputed border, the environmental and water effects of glacier melt in the Himalayas, a rivalry in Africa, the different effects in each country of public opinion and nationalism in a more uncontrollable world.  There was plenty to cause tensions from time to time.  We saw China as having the capacity to develop a strategic approach to these issues that was more patient than India’s;  and we saw India as having a mindset that was more in tune with the rest of the world as it opened up.  The prospect of India capitalising on its soft power advantages and its developing world legitimacy, while China kept up a higher economic growth, some of the proceeds from which it put into the military arena, would occupy us for some time to come. 

As for the global arena, participants saw India as playing an essential role in trade arrangements in particular.  This is where the domestic and the international came together in the most concrete way:  in agriculture, for instance, where India needed to connect with global trends and opportunities, the country was currently facing over 15,000 suicides a year of desperate farmers.  We noted how discomfited India had felt in being blamed, through poor diplomacy in the negotiations, for the breakdown of the Doha round.  Yet India was developing commercial, industrial and technological links with a greater range of countries than China;  and, while China sent more students to overseas universities, Indian professors at those universities far outnumbered Chinese ones.  The capacity of Indians to get inside the US economy in particular was regarded as important (we talked little about the EU, which was less engaged than North America).  This potential for catching up with the developed world’s ways of conducting business might prove to be a crucial advantage.

At the United Nations, we all saw India as continuing to play a central role, whether or not a Security Council permanent seat became available (which we thought unlikely in the foreseeable future).  Participants thought India would be wise to move on from this particular ambition and develop its credentials in other ways.  This brought out a more general point, that India would reach further and act more persuasively if it sought inclusion in global institutional activity less as an entitlement than on the basis of what it could contribute.  Climate change was a good example of India’s potential double role as a global actor and yet still a developing country.  A capacity to look for compromises would give India a bridging role in a whole range of international issues, which would only enhance its weight into the future.

While India’s status as a nuclear weapons country was often viewed in a regional context, the coming period would see opportunities for the country to play a stronger role in global control of nuclear weapons and proliferation.  Currently India’s messaging on nuclear matters was mixed, with a lot of sensitivity being shown.  Under President Obama, the United States would possibly look to India to play at least a partial role in global nuclear issues, as non-proliferation came back to the fore later in 2010.  We also asked ourselves whether India’s approach of accepting NPT (Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) obligations without NPT membership might set an example for nations such as Iran, Israel and Pakistan in moving towards closer involvement with the global architecture in this field.  Certainly Iran was likely to be a test of India’s diplomacy as the nuclear issue there came closer to a head in the coming period, with the United States in particular making judgements about the degree to which India could help at the IAEA and in the Security Council.  But we had to recognise that India’s input might be quite limited at this stage in terms of any quiet diplomacy with Iran. 

Wisely, perhaps, we made no attempt to come to any definitive conclusions about India’s potential into the future.  The way the world was evolving, long-term predictions carried little value.  Nevertheless we were left with no alternative from this fascinating discussion but to recognise that India’s global weight would keep on growing.  Such a rate of economic growth in the world’s largest democracy could only have dynamic results.  That said, we felt that there were five areas where India could pay particular attention to her own development, in ways which would have a bearing on whether the journey into the future would be a smooth or a rough one.  These were the following:

·         The machinery of government in India needed close attention in respect of its policy-forming capacity.  The complexity of the challenges would only grow and neither politicians nor the civil service were gaining the experience, the training and the strategic awareness to get the priorities right.  Young people of the highest quality needed to be attracted into these professions, the diplomatic and other external-facing agencies needed expansion and capacity-building had to be approached in a very determined way.  A more robust array of think tanks would help in achieving this.

·         Economic growth had to be managed in a way which did not exacerbate the inequalities and exclusions in Indian society.  While there were differing views on this front, the majority felt that it was wrong to think of a trade-off between growth and equality.  That did not lead to practicable policy approaches.  But better routes out of poverty had to be devised.  Here education was going to be key.  But the right kind of subsidies, such as the guarantee employee scheme, could also be developed.  The poor had to be helped to help themselves.  Alongside that, the delivery of government services and utilities needed to be broadened.

·         Regional problems could undermine India’s path to great power status.  Unless better managed than at present, the added burden of Afghanistan, on top of Indian-Pakistani traditional tensions, could produce severe drawbacks.  We worried that the international community might not be able to help all that much, because the efforts of the United States had so far led to limited results.  There was no good outcome in this whole area unless India and Pakistan decided, with a firm determination, to take a more constructive route.

·         In the wider world we saw the G20, although that collective was still in formation, as being a natural place for India to cut its global teeth in the next stages.  Climate change and trade negotiations were also an important opportunity.  Indian policy-making and diplomacy needed to be sharpened to meet the test.

·         Finally, we were keen to see signs of a growing maturity in India in the way in which it dealt with both its internal and its international challenges.  The relationship with Pakistan might be one place to start;  and perhaps the spectre of China taking over a continental leadership in problem-solving might be enough to generate it.  Imaginative leadership was going to be needed and the rest of the world could help from time to time in giving space for that.  At least in international terms, that was India’s next plateau to reach.

Having set aside any judgement of whether this amounted to future superpower status, we ended this debate with no doubt at all that India was already one of the great global stakeholders.  In watching the current evolution, we were sure that we were witnessing something historic.  The constructive and knowledgeable tone of our discussion stemmed from an impressive mix of frankness and experience around the table, helped by a chairman whose firm guidance and eye for the main priorities kept a complicated conversation on track.  No-one who participated is likely to forget this glimpse of the future of a certain global giant.

This Note reflects the Director’s personal impressions of the conference.  No participant is in any way committed to its content or expression. 

Chair : Ambassador Frank Wisner

International Affairs Advisor, Patton Boggs LLP, New York.  Formerly:  Vice Chairman, External Affairs, American International Group Inc;  US Foreign Service (1961-97);  Ambassador to India (1994-97);  Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (1993-94);  Under Secretary of State for International Security Affairs (1992-93);  Ambassador to the Philippines (1991-92).

Ambassador Lakhdar Brahimi

Formerly:  Adviser to the UN Secretary General;  Special Representative of the Secretary General in South Africa, Haiti, Afghanistan (1993-2005);  Foreign Minister of Algeria (1991-93);  Ambassador to the UK (1971-79).

Dr David Malone

President, International Development Research Centre (2008-).  Author.  Formerly:  High Commissioner of Canada to India and Ambassador to Bhutan and Nepal (2006-08).  A Member of the Program Advisory Committee, The Canadian Ditchley Foundation.
Professor T V Paul
James McGill Professor of International Relations, Department of Political Science, McGill University, Montreal (1991-);  Founding Director, McGill University-University of Montreal Centre for International Peace and Security Studies.  Author.

Professor Ramesh Thakur

Director, Balsillie School of International Affairs, Distinguished Fellow, Centre for International Governance Innovation and Professor of Political Science, University of Waterloo.  Author.

Ms Li Li

Associate Research Fellow, Institute of South and Southeast Asian Studies, China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

Mr Kamalesh Sharma

Commonwealth Secretary-General (2008-).  Formerly:  High Commissioner of India to the UK (2005-08);  Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General to East Timor (2003-04).  A Governor, The Ditchley Foundation.

Mr Mani Shankar Aiyar

Writer, New Delhi;  Chairman, South Asia Foundation – India;  Honorary Adviser, Bureau of Parliamentary Studies and Training.  Formerly:  Member of Parliament;  Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports (2006-09).
Professor Kanti Bajpai
Professor in the Politics and International Relations of South Asia, University of Oxford (2009-).  Formerly:  Headmaster, Doon School, India (2003-09);  Professor of International Politics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.
Ms Barkha Dutt
Journalist and Broadcaster; Group Editor – English News, NDTV;  Weekly Columnist, The Hindustan Times, The Khaleej Times;  Member, Global Council, Asia Society;  Nominated Member, National Integration Council of India.
Mr Salman Haidar
Director, South Asian Political Initiative (2005-);  Columnist, The Statesman (2000-).  Formerly:  High Commissioner to the United Kingdom;  Ambassador to China and Bhutan;  Foreign Secretary, Government of India (1995-97).
Mr Prem Shankar Jha
Journalist, Author, Columnist (1991).  Formerly:  Visiting Professor, Universities of Virginia and Richmond (1997-2000);  Information Adviser to the Prime Minister (1990);  India Correspondent, The Economist (1986-90).
Professor Sunil Khilnani
Director, South Asia Studies, Johns Hopkins University;  Fellow, American Academy, Berlin.  Formerly:  Professor of Politics, Birkbeck College, University of London.
Mr Rohan Mukherjee
Senior Research Specialist, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University;  Research and Program Coordinator, Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi.
Ambassador Ramesh Mulye
Strategic Advisor, Confederation of Indian Industry, Paris;  Founder, Business Promotion Services, Paris.  Formerly:  Indian Diplomatic Service;  Ambassador to Syria (1988-91);  Deputy Chief of Mission, Paris (1986-88).
Mr Rahul Roy-Chaudhury
Senior Fellow for South Asia, The International Institute for Strategic Studies (2003-).  Author.  Formerly:  Senior Research Fellow, International Policy Institute, King’s College, London (2002 03).
Professor W Pal Sidhu
Vice President of Programs, EastWest Institute (2008-).  Formerly:  Director, New Issues in Security Course, Geneva Centre for Security Policy, Switzerland (2005-08).

Dr Masanori Kondo

Senior Associate Professor of Economics, International Christian University, Tokyo (1998-);  Board Representative for Japan, GDN, New Delhi;  Director, Japan-India Association. 

Dr Samina Ahmed

Project Director, South Asia, International Crisis Group, Islamabad (2001-).
Mr Najmuddin Shaikh
Contributor, The Daily Times.  Formerly:  Foreign Secretary (1994-97);  Ambassador to Iran (1992-94);  Ambassador to the United States (1990-91);  Ambassador to West Germany (1989-90);  Ambassador to Canada (1987-89).

Professor Dmitri Streltsov

Head, Afro-Asian Studies Department and Professor, Moscow State Institute of International Relations, Moscow;  Research Fellow, Center of Japanese Studies, Institute of Oriental Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences.

Sir Michael Arthur KCMG

HM Diplomatic Service (1972-);  Ambassador to Germany (2007-).  Formerly:  British High Commissioner, New Delhi (2003-07);  Director General, EU and International Economic Issues (2001-03).
Ms Sharon Bamford
Chief Executive, UK India Business Council, London (2007-).  Chief Executive, The Scottish Institute for Enterprise (2003-07);  Director, The Edinburgh Technopole, University of Edinburgh (2001-03).
The Lord Bilimoria of Chelsea CBE DL
Founder, Cobra Beer, and Chairman, Cobra Beer Partnership Limited;  Chancellor, Thames Valley University (2005-);  President, UK-India Business Council;  Deputy President, London Chamber of Commerce and Industry.  A Governor, The Ditchley Foundation.
Sir Nigel Broomfield KCMG
Chairman, Yatra plc;  Consultant on airport and other security issues, Smiths Detection.  Formerly:  Director, The Ditchley Foundation (1999-2004);  HM Diplomatic Service (1969-97).  A Member of the Board of Directors, The American Ditchley Foundation.  A Governor, The Ditchley Foundation.
Mr Edward Carr
Foreign Editor, The Economist (2009-).  Formerly:  Business Affairs Editor, The Economist (2005 09);  News Editor, The Financial Times (2000-05);  Science Correspondent, The Economist.
Baroness Falkner
Life Peer, Liberal Democrats (2004-) and Spokesman on Foreign Affairs;  Parliamentary Fellow, St Antony’s College, University of Oxford (2009-10);  Chancellor, University of Northampton (2008 ).
Mr Nik Gowing
Main Presenter, BBC World News (1996-).  Formerly:  Principal Anchor, The World Today (1996-2000).  A Governor, The Ditchley Foundation.
Mr Andrew Patrick
HM Diplomatic Service;  Additional Director South Asia, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, London (2009-).  Formerly:  Deputy Head of Mission, Kabul (2007-09);  Deputy Head of Mission, Pretoria (2004-07).
Dr Gareth Price
Head, Asia Programme, Chatham House.  Formerly:  Senior India Research Fellow, Chatham House (2004-05);  South Asia Analyst;  Economist Intelligence Unit (2000-04);  Political Risk Analyst, Control Risks Group (1998-2000).
Ms Anna Ruddock
India Research Analyst, Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Sir Richard Stagg KCMG
HM Diplomatic Service (1977-);  British Commissioner, New Delhi (2007-).  Formerly:  Director General, Corporate Affairs, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) (2003-07).
Mr Simon Webb CBE
Lessons of Crises Study, Cabinet Office.  Formerly:  Chairman, International Transport Forum (2006-09);  Director-General, International Networks and Environment, Department for Transport (2007-09).  A Governor, The Ditchley Foundation.

Ambassador Robert Blackwill

Senior Fellow and Special Assistant to the President, RAND Corporation (2008-);  Faculty Member, John F Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (1995-).  Author.  Formerly:  US Ambassador to India (2001-03).
Dr Marshall Bouton
President, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs (formerly The Chicago Council on Foreign Relations) (2001-);  Media Commentator on South Asian and US-South Asian affairs;  Chair, Advisory Board, Center for the Advanced Study of India, University of Pennsylvania;  Member, Editorial Board, India Review;  Lecturer, Northwestern University.
Dr Stephen Cohen
Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies, The Brookings Institution, Washington (1998-).  Formerly:  Professor of Political Science and History, University of Illinois;  Member, Policy Planning Staff, US Department of State (1985-87).
Mr James Hoge Jr
Editor, Foreign Affairs magazine, Council on Foreign Relations, New York (1992-).  Formerly:  Fellow, John F Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (1991-92).  Chairman of the Advisory Council, The American Ditchley Foundation.
Ambassador Karl Inderfurth
John O Rankin Professor of the Practice of International Affairs and Director, Graduate Program in International Affairs, George Washington University.  Formerly:  Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs (1997-2001).

Ms Anja Manuel

Co-Founder and Principal, The RiceHadley Group LLC (2009-);  Visiting Scholar, Center for International Security and Cooperation and Adjunct Professor of International Policy Studies, Stanford University (2009-).  Formerly:  Counsel, WilmerHale;  Special Assistant for South Asia to Under Secretary of State, US Department of State (2005-07).