The Asia Economic Dialogue (AED) is the flagship geoeconomics conference of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), India. The AED 2021 is jointly convened by the MEA and Pune International Centre (PIC). This is the fifth edition of the AED, and the second one organised by PIC. The theme for this year’s conference is “Post Covid-19 Global Trade and Finance Dynamics”. Under this theme, the discussions will focus on the pandemic’s impact on trade and finance, on the world and on Asia in particular, as well as strategies to deal with this impact. In the words of Ambassador Gautam Bambawale, former Ambassador of India to China, Pakistan, and Bhutan, and convenor of AED 2021, “The Asia Economic Dialogue is a geoeconomics conference supported by India’s Ministry of External Affairs. This edition will discuss how the world recovers from the economic aftershocks of the Covid-19 pandemic including how global supply chains may be re-aligned.”
The AED 2021 was held over three days, from Friday, 26th February 2021 to Sunday, 28th February 2021. AED 2021 was held virtually due to continuing uncertainty on account of Covid-19 and attendant issues such as difficulty in travel, and need for social distancing.
This conference is a major international event, and featured high level participation from foreign ministers including Hon. Dr. S. Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs India and Hon. Senator Marise Payne, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Australia – both of whom participated in the AED’s inaugural session on “Resilient Global Growth in a Post-Pandemic World”. The AED 2021 was constituted of 8 sessions across 3 days, with topics such as the reconfiguration of supply chains, the challenges and way forward for a multilateral platform like the World Trade Organisation, global finance post Covid-19, and more. Apart from senior bureaucrats like India’s Foreign Secretary, Commerce Secretary, and Secretary (Economic Relations) of the Ministry of External Affairs, the AED 2021 also saw participation from both Indian and global industry leaders such as Mr. Kumar Mangalam Birla, Mr. Rajiv Bajaj, and business heads from South Korea and Vietnam. The AED 2021 also saw issues like currency realignment, financial flows and trade ties, as well as India’s international development cooperation discussed.