Former Foreign Secretary Shiv Shanker Menon will get senior representatives of India’s strategic partners on his first outing as National Security Advisor (NSA) to the Munich Security Conference beginning on Friday. His predecessor as NSA and now West Bengal Governor M.K. Narayanan will accompany him, said diplomatic sources.
Among others, the conference will be attended by Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jeichi, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, U.S. National Security Advisor James Jones, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberger, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, the new Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Yukiya Amano and NATO Secretary-General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
Although the 46th Munich conference will not see too many heads of governments, the numbers will be more than made up by Foreign Ministers and National Security Advisors from several countries and the fact that China will make its debut. Mr. Yang is slated to deliver the keynote address and Chinese participation is expected when the issue of the massive U.S. arms sales to Taiwan comes up for discussion.
Although Mr. Narayanan demitted office last month, he has been invited out of deference to his long innings as Indian NSA and his frequent interactions with German NSA Christoph Heusgen, said the sources.
Afghanistan, disarmament, energy security, Middle East stability, European security architecture and NATO’s future are the other important topics expected to be aired. Iran has been invited to the conference but it is not clear whether it will attend. The host German contingent will be led by Chancellor Angela Merkel and include Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg and Mr. Heusgen.
From a meeting that deliberated on security issues in the Euro-Atlantic region and restricted participation to western Cold War allies, it expanded the scope to include new issues and all the regions of the world.