IISS team in Delhi to ease diplomatic tensions after India pulled out of Shangri-La Dialogue

A team from the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS), which runs the Asia's premier Shangri-La Dialogue, is in Delhi for damage control over the diplomatic faux pas post the Shangri-La Dialogue, reported The Hindu.

According to The Hindu, a senior fellow of the institute, Tim Huxley is in the capital to engage with key stakeholders in the Indian security establishment. He will be working closely with the Indian government to ensure that India is fully represented at next year's SLD.

US Secretary of Defense James Mattis poses for a picture with ASEAN defence leaders. Reuters

US Secretary of Defense James Mattis poses for a picture with ASEAN defence leaders. Reuters

This is following India's decision to withdraw from the dialogue after it was informed that the Minister Of State For Defence, Subhash Bhamre, who was filling in for Defense Minister Arun Jaitley, would only be accommodated at a "plenary session" on the last day of the three-day event and not on one of the main panels as Pakistan's Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, which turned out to be a deal-breaker for India, reported The Economic Times.

A senior official privy to the decision told The Hindu that the organisers of the event told the government that "Indian minister did not rank as highly as Hayat" and that Pakistan's civil military relations are different from India and could have been overlooked. "Obviously, we were not going to accept this kind of differentiation between India and Pakistan," said an Indian official to The Hindu. The Indian High Commission in Singapore then informed the Singapore MFA that "under the circumstances", the delegation from New Delhi was pulling out as the speaking slot confirmed was "not in line with their expectations".

By pulling out, India also lost an opportunity to meet with US Defense Secretary James Mattis that could have been significant ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the US and possible dialogues with the defense ministers from Australia, Japan, Malaysia and Canada.

As most countries in South and Central Asia joined the Chinese project, India lost an opportunity to make rebuttals on the presentations made by General Hayat on the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor project.

While the Singapore government has taken the responsibility of what they call an 'oversight' in the programme but the damage has been done. A senior Indian official told The Hindu, the decision to re-engage with subsequent Shangri-La Dialogues would have to be taken at a very senior level in government but it's over for now.”

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Jun 13, 2017 19:49 PM

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