‘The Ukraine defence minister is there, so are individuals who want a regime change in Russia. The head of BP Oil is there who did not like the Nord Stream line. These elites are very upset with India.’
At least 130 massively influential individuals from 23 countries are meeting in Lisbon, Portugal, for a four-day conclave, from 18-21 May, under the annual Bilderberg Meetings in which among the 13 topics that will be discussed under utmost secrecy is “India”.
These individuals, including political leaders and experts from industry, finance, academia, labour and the media, are all from North America and Europe. The said meeting is reportedly being held at the 5-star Pestana Palace hotel in Lisbon.
As per the norms followed in this annual meet, which began in 1954, these individuals will have informal discussions about major issues. The said meetings are held under the Chatham House Rule, under which the participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s) nor any other participant can be revealed.
Sources following this congregation, which has been called “secretive” and an event that discusses “informally” the ways to impact policy changes in Asian and African countries, said that the policy decision taken by India to remain “neutral” and take a balanced approach while commenting and acting on the Russia-Ukraine war will also be discussed by this influential gathering.
The said stand by India has come under severe criticism from influential bodies and institutions based in the Western region who want India to side with Ukraine.
The decision of India to buy cheap Russian oil keeping in view its domestic strategic needs, is also likely to come up for discussion with methods that need to be adopted to control will also likely be deliberated.
Max Blumenthal, the Editor of “The Grayzone”, a US-based independent news website that has been covering this gathering, told The Sunday Guardian that the said group represents a group of “trans-Atlantic elites” from across the spectrum, including military leaders, intelligence officials, tech leaders working for the military, etc.
“They meet under Chatham House Rule, which is fundamentally undemocratic as even elected officials participate in this meeting and the public should know what the people they elected are discussing with big companies and business leaders who have incentive in wars and pandemics. The Ukraine defence minister is there, so are individuals who want a regime change in Russia. These figures are very much interested in destroying the Russian economy. The head of BP Oil is there who did not like the Nord Stream line coming from Russia to Germany. These elites are very upset with India because it is buying oil from Russia, refining it and selling it in the international market which is helping Russia economically. I can assume that by having India in the agenda they are deliberating on the ‘problem’ by India. The Bilderberg Meetings should be seen as a threat to India’s sovereignty,” said Blumenthal, who is an award-winning journalist and author of best sellers.
The spokesperson of Bilderberg Meetings, while responding to The Sunday Guardian’s questions, shared the following response:
Q: One of the key topics for the four-day discussion is India. However, no representative from India will be taking part in this event. Why so? Was it a conscious decision to keep Indian stakeholders out of the conference where what is discussed is unlikely to become public.
A: Since its foundation in 1954, Bilderberg has always been a forum for Transatlantic discussions. As such, the vast majority of participants comes from North America or Europe.
Q: Who and how is it determined regarding the members who can participate in this event?
A: The annual Bilderberg Meetings is organised by the Foundation Bilderberg Meetings. A Steering Committee governs this foundation and designates a Chair or Co-chairs. Members are elected for a term of four years and can be re-elected. The Chair’s key responsibilities are to chair the Steering Committee and, together with the Steering Committee members, prepare the Meeting’s programme as well as the selection of participants. As participation is for invitees only, there is no application process. For us, the key question is whether participants have an interesting perspective to contribute. The list of participants changes every year.
Q: The perception is that India’s approach to the Russia-Ukraine war will be critically examined during this event. Can you confirm or deny this?
A: While our participants tend to come from North America and Europe, the scope of our topics tends to be truly global. As such, no matter whether a discussion is on AI, energy, banking, industrial policy, trade or any other of our topics—perspectives from major countries outside of North America and Europe tend to be discussed too.
The website of the said meeting states that participation is for invitees only, as curated by the Steering Committee from leaders who distinguish themselves in the areas of government, business, technology, labour and academia. The meeting is closed to reporting journalists in order to encourage the highest level of openness and dialogue. It further mentions that Bilderberg Meetings stays away from public attention and that the annual contributions by Steering Committee members cover the yearly costs of the small secretariat. The budget of the secretariat is limited to staff and administrative costs. The hospitality costs of the annual meeting are the responsibility of the Steering Committee member(s) of the host country, it claims. The event is organized by the Bilderberg Meetings Foundation.
Apart from India, the other key topics that are being discussed are AI, Banking System, China, Energy Transition, Europe, Fiscal Challenges, Industrial Policy and Trade, NATO, Russia, Transnational Threats, Ukraine and US Leadership.
The maximum number of participants (30) are from the US. The rest of the participants are from Turkey, Britain, Norway, Netherlands, Poland, Italy, France, Spain, Austria, Germany, Portugal, Finland, Sweden, Canada, Ireland, Switzerland, Belgium and Greece. Seven participants have been classified as “international”.
Participants under this category include Josep Borrell, Vice President, European Commission, Christopher Cavoli, Supreme Allied Commander Europe, Paschal Donohoe, President, Eurogroup, Paolo Gentiloni, Commissioner for Economy, European Commission, Andrei Kolesnikov, Senior Fellow, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Roberta Metsola, President, European Parliament, Didier Reynders, European Commissioner for Justice, Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General, NATO, Arvind Subramanian, Senior Fellow in International and Public Affairs, Brown University.
Also participating in the meeting is Ashley J. Tellis, Tata Chair for Strategic Affairs, Carnegie Endowment and Avril D. Haines, Director of National Intelligence, US.