Understanding Insecurities: The South Asian Experience / The Evolving International Order and India’s Foreign Policy

Archana Upadhyay

Rajan Kumar

December 14, 2018, 14h00

Room 4.3, Faculty of Economics, University of Coimbra


1. Title: “Understanding Insecurities: The South Asian Experience”

Abstract: South Asia as a regional entity is plagued with insecurities which gets reflected in dealings that individual states have with each other and with the world at large. Representing the southern region of the Asian continent, South Asia clearly is one of the most volatile regions of the world. It is a region characterized by high levels of insecurity at the inter-state, intra-state and human level. The current territories of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka are the constituent units of South Asia. Though these countries are of different size and capability, they present security challenges that have far reaching implications both regionally and globally. In the understanding of South Asian strategic scenario, two issues are critically important: One is the nuclear issue and the other is terrorism. There is a highly complex triangular nuclear equation in the South Asian Region that includes China, India and Pakistan having serious implications for the international nuclear regime. In South Asia, terrorism as a method gets manifested in almost every conflict, be it insurgency, an ethnic conflict, state-led law and order or security operations or even an interstate proxy war. It is not without reason that South Asia has emerged as the epicenter of global terrorism and what goes on in the region has ramifications across the world. The Seminar will broadly address the key security challenges emanating from the region.

Short bio: Archana Upadhyay is a Professor in the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. Her research interests include International Relations with special focus on South Asian, Russian and Eurasian issues, Insurgency and Terrorism, Conflict and Conflict management.

2. Title: The Evolving International Order and India’s Foreign Policy

Abstract: The contemporary international order is in flux characterised by a gradual decline of the Western liberal order and the rise of states which were considered too large and heterogenous to emerge powerful and influence the system. The evolving economic and political order, however, is yet to take a cognizable shape. Uncertainty is the hallmark of the current world order. In such a situation, India is treading cautiously to avoid a hard-landing. It has begun to follow a policy of multi-engagement with the following characteristics: a) to forge a close security partnership with the United States, European Union and Japan, without alienating Russia, b) economic engagements with all the important blocs and countries including China, c) counter growing Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean and Indo-Pacific region with the help of the USA, d) check the scourge of terrorism emanating from Pakistan, e) and finally, restore India’s ‘rightful’ place in the international system denied to it for centuries. These are the core attributes of India’s contemporary foreign policy.

I will answer the following questions to elaborate these objectives: How does India envision the evolving world order? What are the major features of the new world order? Where does India locate itself in the emerging new order? What are the economic and security challenges that India is likely to face? What are the new areas of cooperation and conflicts for India? Towards the end, I will highlight the importance of close partnership between India and the European Union to rescue a political order marked by democracy and the rule of law.

Short bio: Prof. Rajan Kumar is a a Professor in the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. His research interests include Iternational Politics; Foreign Policy of India;Politics and Society in Russia and Central Asia; Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods in Social Sciences. He collaborated in in a research project "Transition versus Transformation: comparing paths to democratic change in the former USSR using case study based evidence from civil society, international aid and domestic politics", funded by Marie Curie Scheme of European Union and based in Tallinn, Estonia; and currently participates in the network Around the Caspian, and ITN- doctoral training aimed at cultivating the next generation of experts on the Caspian region. It seeks to establish a sustainable network of capable commentators through the development of an integrated PhD programme focusing on the Caspian region. He has various publications in international peer-reviewd journals and editors, among which the latest include the book “Re-emerging Russia: Structures, Institutions and Processes, Palgrave Macmillan, 2018. (Co-authored) and the article “Russia's Foregin Policy: An Overview of 25 Years of Transition” (2008), International Studies, Sage Publication, Delhi.

Activity within the Doctoral Programme in International Politics and Conflict Resolution [see programme of lectures]