In January 2020, the COVID-19 outbreak in China was viewed as a black swan event, threatening the Communist Party's rule. Two short months later, however, China appeared to have controlled the virus, while the rest of the world struggled to respond. As country after country imposed lockdowns of varying strictness and the human cost began to rise, geopolitical frictions flared up over the origins of the virus, along with Beijing's early failures, diplomacy and discourse. 'Smokeless War: China's Quest for Global Primacy' offers a gripping account of the Communist Party of China's political, diplomatic and narrative responses during the pandemic. Drawing on the latest academic research and Chinese language sources, the book discusses the Party-State's efforts to achieve greater discourse power and political primacy, as it sought to convert a potentially existential crisis into a historic opportunity. In doing so, the author provides an insightful account of the Chinese Communist Party's approaches to cultivating sources of strength and exercise of power.
About the Speaker
Manoj Kewalramani, is the Chairperson of the Indo-Pacific Research Programme and heads the China Studies work at the Takshashila Institution. Manoj's research focuses on Chinese foreign policy, politics and approaches to new technologies. He curates a weekly brief, Eye on China, which tracks developments in China from an Indian perspective. Manoj's work has been featured in a number of publications, such as The Indian Express, Al Jazeera, the Hindustan Times, Japan Times and The Diplomat. Previously, he spent over a decade working as a journalist in India and China, where he helped set up digital newsrooms and train young journalists.
About the Chair
Vijay Nambiar, born in Pune (1943), studied at St Xavier's College Mumbai. He was awarded the Chancellor's gold medal for his Masters in 1965. Joining India's Foreign Service in 1967 he was Ambassador/High Commissioner in Algiers (1985-88), Afghanistan (1990-92), Malaysia (1993-96), China (1996-2000) and Pakistan (2000-01) He was also Permanent Representative at India's UN Mission in New York (2002-2004). After retirement in 2004, he served as Deputy National Security Adviser until 2006 when he was seconded to the UN as Special Adviser to UNSG Kofi Annan. He served at the UN from 2006 to 2016 as Special Adviser to the Secretary-General, as Chef de Cabinet to UNSG Ban Ki Moon and later as his Adviser on Myanmar. He returned to India in 2017 and is now settled in Greater NOIDA.
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