International Security Dialogue Department

Rising geopolitical competition has amplified tensions between the United States and China, inciting an arms race and surrogate conflicts across the globe. Strife between Russia and the West, coupled with the war in Ukraine, has critically undermined the foundations of the European security architecture, triggering repercussions such as energy and food insecurity.

Given the impartiality and inclusivity of the GCSP, the International Security Dialogue Department's portfolio aims to address these geopolitical tensions, with a particular emphasis on European security issues. Our dialogue initiatives have three distinct objectives: re-establishing trust between conflicting parties; allowing experts and government actors to sustain dialogue on matters of shared interest and concern, such as strategic stability and nuclear risk reduction; and delving into discussions on the future of European security order.

The Department oversees numerous confidential dialogue processes, where several major unresolved questions confronting the European security order are discussed. Topics include how to resolve existing dilemmas between key principles of European security; how to develop solid security guarantees to countries in the region; and how to assess the impact of the war in Ukraine on multilateral institutions, with a special focus on the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

The International Security Dialogue Department actively collaborates with regional institutions and think tanks to organise joint dialogue events. Its institutional partners include the Friedrich Ebert Foundation Regional Office for Cooperation and Peace in Vienna, the OSCE Academy in Bishkek, and the Strategic Foresight Group based in Mumbai, among others. The Department’s experts actively contribute to the Experts Network on the OSCE.

The dialogue tracks that the Department conducts include, but are not limited to, the following:


P5 Experts’ Roundtable on Nuclear Risk Reduction 

This roundtable is co-organised together with the Strategic Foresight Group, an international think tank based in Mumbai. It is one of the examples of the successful partnerships among the Department's dialogue processes. This roundtable represents a diplomatic initiative focusing on catastrophic risks that was launched in September 2022 in Caen, Normandy, France. The initiative is inspired by the Normandy Manifesto for World Peace, issued by a group of Nobel Laureates and social thinkers under the auspices of the Normandy Forum in 2019.

The objective is to discuss nuclear risk reduction measures among the P5 countries - China, France, Russia, UK, and USA, with a special focus on the Artificial Intelligence (AI) and nuclear command, control, and communications (NC3) nexus. The continued deterioration of the global security environment has further increased the urgency of this topic. Mentions of the use of nuclear weapons for tactical purposes have risen in both politico-military and media circles, reinforcing UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ warning that the world is one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation. Coinciding with ongoing polarisation among the P5, it is crucial for experts to come together and find ways to promote dialogue and common understandings to break this deadlock.


Chambésy Roundtable

The repercussions of the war against Ukraine are globally palpable. The outcome of this conflict remains uncertain. However, its cessation will inevitably require addressing several critical issues. This Track-1.5 dialogue aims to convene state representatives and experts to examine the long-term implications of the Ukraine war on the future of European security, focusing on security guarantees, potential de-escalation strategies, and anticipated steps towards reconstructing the European security order.


OSCE Focus Conference

This dialogue assembles high-ranking participants from the OSCE community, providing an opportunity for informal discussion of some of the OSCE’s most pressing agenda items. Such topics include: the OSCE’s role in Ukraine during and after the war; the OSCE as a unique dialogue platform, communication channel, and promoter of greater predictability; and the challenges of leading the organisation during tumultuous times, both politically and within executive structures. The OSCE Focus Conference also fosters discussions on how to rebuild European security and the OSCE’s likely role in this process.


Conversations on the Future of European Security

This Track-2 dialogue brings experts together from North America, Europe, Ukraine and Russia for a frank exchange of views on unfolding developments between Russia and Ukraine – and their consequences for the task of rebuilding aspects of security and predictability across Europe. Launched in anticipation of the 50th anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act in 2025, discussions centre on the extent to which an increasingly deterrence-centric European security system can be complemented by elements of communication, compartmentalisation and cooperative security. Such efforts are aimed at providing policymakers with an array of policy options to navigate an unpredictable world and reduce the potential cost of mounting tensions on the continent.


US-Russia Dialogue on Syria

Over the past three years, the GCSP has held confidential dialogue sessions between American and Russian experts on Syria. Both countries have a military presence and often divergent interests and differing local partners in Syria. As such, their roles are pivotal for the success of the Syrian peace process.

But peace in Syria is made more difficult by the war in Ukraine, which has worsened Russian-American relations and dialogue conditions. The Gaza conflict has also completely reshaped regional geopolitics in the Middle East, exacerbating tensions and local conflict dynamics. In this new context, the Syrian conflict has lost the attention of the global community. But its resolution remains essential for regional stability.

This dialogue series provides a unique opportunity and platform for informal diplomacy between Russia and the US on this prolonged crisis, aimed at finding a path forward. It is a neutral space for frank discussions and for sharing ideas on confidence-building measures that will improve the situation in Syria – and possibly in the MENA region as well.


Meet the team