Recognising India’s opportunity in the Neighbourhood: Challenges and Prospects

August 10, 2017, Conference Hall II, NIAS

Dr Sreeradha Datta, Director, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Institute of Asian Studies, Kolkatta

Abstract: One of the most visible development ever since the recent National democratic Alliance took over in Delhi in 2014 has been Prime Minister Modi’s travel and outreach to countries near and wide. Attempts to invigorate bilateral and regional ties both are perceptible. While it maybe too early to assess the positive impact of the numerous summits and high level meetings that are taking place, its presence is being marked in the global affairs and in a break from the past it is not a diffident India who is hesitant to forge friendship or take a position. There is a paradigm shift in how India wants to be perceived.

U.S. Middle East Policy

July 27, 2015, Lecture Hall, NIAS

Prof. Brian M. Katulis, Senior Fellow-National Security, Center for American Progress

Brian_katulisAbstract: President Obama’s Middle East policy record in his first six years in office was mixed and lacked significant signature achievements – but the July 2015 Iran nuclear agreement represents a major accomplishment. Overall, Obama’s approach was cautious, as the United States reacted to fast-moving events. The overall U.S. strategy focused on degrading terrorist networks such as Al Qaeda in the Arabia Peninsula (AQAP) to prevent a major attack on the United States and avoiding making the strategic blunders that his predecessor made. Attempts to advance Israeli-Palestinian peace fell short twice and efforts to broker a peaceful settlement to Syria’s vicious civil war have not succeeded. America’s response to the ongoing political shifts of the Arab uprisings has been uneven.

Discussion on Ukraine and Future of Indo-Russian Relations

June 5, 2015, Conference Hall, NIAS

Ambassador P S Raghavan, India’s Ambassador to Russia

Amb RaghavanAmbassador P S Raghavan, India’s Ambassador to Russia visited National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore on June 5, 2015. He interacted with the faculty members and students of the International Strategic and Security Studies Programme, NIAS.

A brief discussion was also held on the situation in Ukraine and the current Indo-Russian relations. Ambassador Raghavan discussed the ongoing situation in Ukraine and spoke on Russia’s possible perceptions on the current condition.

Energy Security Worldviews in Asia

April 28, 2015, Lecture Hall, NIAS

Prof. Deepa Ollapally, Professor of International Affairs, Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington University

ollapally-deepaAbstract: Many states appear to have strong sentiment on energy security and energy transit vulnerability. Some analysts see the rapidly increasing demand for energy and competition for energy resources fueling “resource nationalism” leading to nationalistic energy policies. Others argue that global trends with efficient energy markets and growing options on renewables suggest more relaxed energy outlooks. What does evidence from the world’s most important region for energy security—Asia (China, India, Japan and South Korea—tell us about worldviews on energy? How do key actors in the country with an influence on energy decision making view their country’s energy vulnerability and security? Is there an alignment of thinking on this or is it more contested? What are the strategies they promote (for example, market oriented Globalist, pragmatic Realist or more Nationalist policies; or blended?) How susceptible is the country’s energy policy to being “securitized” toward Nationalist preferences over market oriented international strategies along Globalist and Realist lines? Where is the center of gravity of thinking (Realists, Globalist, Nationalist? Or blended?) Dr. Ollapally will discuss some of the key findings from a collaborative research project on this topic that she is leading at the Sigur Center for Asian Studies, George Washington University.

The New World Order and Wars in the 21st Century

February 16, 2015, Conference Hall 2, NIAS

Prof. Subrata Ghoshroy, Research Associate, STS Program, Massachu­setts Institute of Technology

Subrata GhoshroyAbstract: As the curtain came down on the twentieth century, there was a sense of great optimism that the new century would bring peace and security in the world since the Cold War was over. A decade on, the hopes for a new millennium of peace and prosperity have begun to fade. The first decade has already witnessed unleashing of an unprecedented military might on defenseless people in countries like the former Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya. Hundreds of thousands civilians have been killed and millions more rendered homeless in these wars. A new kind of war is being waged with unmanned aircraft called drones with names such as Predator or Reaper, which can attack a target with hellish Hellfire missiles. The “pilots,” who don’t fly, pull the trigger sitting in the comfort of air-conditioned command posts thousands of miles away. Instead of the much heralded “peace dividend,” military spending worldwide continued to rise and crossed the hitherto inconceivable trillion-dollar mark with the U.S. accounting for more than half. It is at this juncture I speak about the new world order and the wars of the 21st century.

Pakistan’s Nuclear Developments and India’s Strategy and Doctrine

September 10, 2014, Conference Hall 2, NIAS

Dr. Neil Joeck, Visiting Scholar, Institute of International Studies, University of California Berkeley

neil_joeckAbstract: War is still possible between India and Pakistan and runs the risk of crossing the nuclear threshold, despite the fact that past Indo-Pakistani wars have been limited. Cold War models of limited nuclear war may not help to anticipate how such a conflict may erupt. Pakistan’s development of tactical nuclear weapons may deter war but may also be used to deny victory. India’s nuclear policies and doctrine may need to be re-evaluated in light of Pakistan’s strategy.

LAC, LOC and Inside

August 30, 2013, Conference Hall, NIAS

Sameer Patil, Associate Fellow,Gateway House, Mumbai

sameer patilAbstract: For multiple reasons, the state of J&K is in news in 2013. Beginning with the beheading of the Indian soldiers on the India-Pakistan LOC, then the aftermath of the execution of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru in the Kashmir Valley, followed by the Chinese incursion in the Depsang Valley in Ladakh, to the reigniting of the tension on the LOC and most recently the communal riots in Kishtwar in Jammu- security situation in J&K has remained precarious. This talk will focus on a) India-China tensions on the LAC; b) Recent India-Pakistan skirmishes on the LOC and c) Internal security situation in J&K. The talk will conclude with a reflection on the regional security situation as the US drawdown from Afghanistan approaches its and security implications for India.

How to Improve India-China Relations

March 7, 2013, Conference Hall, NIAS

Zhiyong Hu, Senior Fellow, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences

untitledCurrently, India-China relations are centered on three “Ts”, Tibet, Trade and Trust and the regional power dynamic plays around these issues. China will always see India’s rise through the prism of its core interests and strategic objectives. When China identifies certain issues as core, it continuously pushes and pursues the core issues with the highest zeal to attain Chinese strategic objectives, even though these are unresolved issues with its neighbors. China is concerned on the stability and peaceful environment, not only for domestic development, but also for regional prosperity including in South Asia. The Chinese investments and economic aids in South Asian countries will grow as China grows fast and there is no need for India to be apprehensive about Chinese intentions in the region.

According to the speaker, China’s rise is positive for region, although it is not so clear and acceptable as such to the outside world. Hu was quite apprehensive about India’s treatment of China and according to him, India has still not come out of its cold war mentality and China is more modern and open to the world as compared to India. The speaker also said that Chinese nationalism has recently become a potent feature in China’s foreign policy. As China becomes a global superpower, its government and people see an increasing need for China to be more assertive in defending its core interests and strategic objectives.

Nuclear Accidents and Learning: The Indian Experience

February 15, 2013, Conference Hall, NIAS

M V Ramana, Associate Research Scholar, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

Ramana-medAbstract: The generation of nuclear power entails significant risks, and this realization has been reinforced by the recent accidents at Fukushima. A number of safety theorists have identified various characteristics among organizations managing complex and hazardous technologies as being necessary for reliable and accident-free operations. How have Indian nuclear authorities viewed accidents at nuclear power plants and what lessons do they seem to have drawn from past accidents, including the one at Fukushima? How well do these lessons comport with desirable characteristics for safe operations? This talk will examine the cases of both Fukushima and an earlier accident at the Narora nuclear power plant to better understand these questions.

Developments in Myanmar – Strategic Implications for India and South East Asia

February 14, 2013, Conference Hall, NIAS

Bertil Lintner, Asia correspondent, Svenska Dagbladet (Swedish daily)

Bertil-LintnerAbstract: Myanmar President Thein Sein’s shift toward democracy since taking power two years ago has bolstered ties with Western nations. Indeed the reforms were said to be aimed at reaching out to the US, whose good will Myanmar needs to break its international isolation. The heavy dependence on China as almost the sole supplier apparently has led to discontent in the military which fear that the country’s traditional neutrality has been compromised. Yet Burma is depended on China than any other country because of its trade network and investment among other things. To what extent Myanmar can lessen its dependence on China remains to be seen.

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