The region that studies together, works together!

August 30, 2010

Exchange programmes, scholarships, collaborative research and of course, a regional university—when academics talk peace, they think first of the classroom.


The South Asian University‘s first academic session was set to begin this month (August 2010) in New Delhi. However, this is not the only education project that has inspired international cooperation. The restoration and revival of Nalanda University is another instance.

S.D.Muni, Nalanda: A Soft Power Project, The Hindu, August 31, 2010.

South Asia’s ancient centres of learning, Takshashila and Nalanda for instance, drew scholars from around the world—both students and teachers. Their memory is a cherished part of regional heritage. The idea of reviving Nalanda was mooted recently and taken forward by a group of governments from across Asia and including New Zealand.

The American and British experience have shown that international student and scholarly exchanges build bridges, create shared vocabularies and most important, personal relationships that survive political vicissitudes. If Asia’s states were to move in this direction, facilitating such exchanges within and across regional groups, the long-term impact on the region’s politics and development could be significant.


Multi-track diplomacy in South Asia: Recent dialogues

February 11, 2010

Indian Express reports that there has been a spurt in dialogues and meetings recently, even as the official India-Pakistan dialogue has been stalled. Although this reporter suggests there is something dubious about this, it is actually an important development. Keeping channels of communication, official or non-official, open is really useful.

The point is made that many of these dialogues are funded by non-regional foundations. The question is: where is the funding for these initiatives in South Asia? There is plenty of money, but there is no will to fund anything remotely political. Many of these dialogues also involve South Asians resident abroad, with varying degrees of connection to their countries of origin. Where dialogue itself is a sensitive issue, the presence of foreigners (no matter their origin) who are identified with other governments creates greater resistance.

‘Seminar’ on India’s National Security

August 6, 2009

Useful resource for contemporary debates on South Asian and global issues.


Seminar’ is an institution, more than a magazine. Started in the early 1960s by public intellectuals who were also influential in the corridors of power, the magazine is essentially a monthly symposium bringing together a wide range of perspectives on any given topic. A large part of Seminar‘s archives are also freely available online.

In July, the Seminar theme was ‘National Security’ bringing together several newer scholars in the field.