The discussion will be around the fraught relations between India and China marked by an unresolved border dispute on the one hand, and a steadily deepening economic engagement on the other

At a time when the relationship between India and China is at one of the lowest points ever, and as India and the United States strengthen their defence, economic, and strategic relationship, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and the US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for South and Southeast Asia Lindsey W Ford will be part of discussions on ‘India, China and the US: A new geopolitical landscape’, on Thursday.

The event is the second in a series of online, agenda-setting debates organised by the Financial Times and The Indian Express about India’s place in the post-pandemic world. Foreign policy leaders and thinkers from India and overseas are discussing India’s diplomatic standing in the world, especially with regard to China and the US.

Further, how India’s relationship evolves with the US under the leadership of President Joe Biden, and how important the US feels India can be to contain China, will also be discussed.

The opening session, Jaishnkar’s keynote interview, will be conducted by Jamil Anderlini, Asia Editor, Financial Times, and C Raja Mohan, Director, Institute of South Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore, who is also Contributing Editor at The Indian Express.

The second keynote interview of the day, of Ford, will be conducted by Katrina Manson, the US Foreign Policy and Defence Correspondent at the Financial Times.

There will be a discussion on India and China being uneasy neighbours. The participants include India’s former National Security Advisor and former Ambassador to China Shivshankar Menon; Director General, Centre for Contemporary China Studies and member of the National Security Advisory Board Lt Gen SL Narasimhan; Senior Fellow and Director of China Program at the Stimson Centre, Yun Sun; and Gideon Rachman, the Chief Foreign Affairs Commentator of Financial Times.

The discussion will be around the fraught relations between India and China marked by an unresolved border dispute on the one hand, and a steadily deepening economic engagement on the other.

Also, the impact of the pandemic — especially its second wave on India, and if China will seek further advantage, as it quickly moved to offer assistance and vaccines to India’s neighbours in South Asia.

A second panel including Dean, Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University, Alyssa Ayres; Lisa Curtis, Senior Fellow and Director of the Indo-Pacific Security Program, Centre for a New American Security (CNAS); Director of the India Project at the Brookings Institution, Tanvi Madan; and India’s Ambassador to the US from 2015 to 2016, Arun Singh will discuss India’s relationship with the US and what’s next for it.

They will talk about the deepening ties between the two nations under a series of US administrations, which is expected to continue under President Biden, as Washington looks at New Delhi as a core partner in preserving a US-led rules-based international order, and as a counter-balance to an increasingly assertive China. Also, what role will India’s relations with Russia play in this evolving geopolitical landscape?

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was the keynote speaker at the first event of the series, which was held online on April 22.