MAY 2021

Dear Friend,

Even as India continues its fight against the second surge of COVID- 19 pandemic, we maintained a high level of programme and research activities at the Institute of Chinese Studies (ICS), while continuing our remote working, to generate informed analysis of China and East Asia.


As the current geopolitical landscape is characterised by intensification of strategic and power contestation between China and the US, scholars at ICS have been closely following the developments in Sino-US relations. Prof. Da Wei presented a rich account of Sino-US ties after 100 days of Biden Administration in our weekly ICS webinar and Amb. Biren Nanda authored an ICS Analysis explaining the significance of Quad in Sino-US relations. Dr. Hemant Adlakha examined the Sino-US relations from the perspective of climate negotiations in his two-part special series on Sino-US climate diplomacy, published as ICS Research Blogs.


China’s relations with India was discussed in the context of trade irritants and non-tariff measures by Dr. Malini Tantri, Dr. Nalin Kumar and Dr. Varadurga Bhat in their co-authored ICS Occasional Paper and Mr. Halim Nazar attempted to understand the Sino-India dynamics in the South China Sea in his ICS Research Blog. Other ICS webinars this month included a discussion on various aspects of China’s domestic governance by Dr. Ritu Agarwal, Dr. Bhim Subba and Mr. Ravi Bhoothalingam and a discussion on China-Zambia Economic Relations: Perspectives from the Agricultural Sectorby Dr. Veda Vaidyanathan, Dr. Caesar Cheelo, Mr. Musadabwe Chulu, Dr. Muyobozi Sikalubya and Ms. Tong Wu.


In May, we had an active publication programme on diverse topics such as Urban Agriculture, Food Security and Sustainable Urban Food Systems in China authored by Mr. Sriram Natrajan and China’s changing role in United Nations Security Council by Ms. Chandam Thareima. ICS Translations, a new addition to our publications programme this year has been widely read and shared. This month Dr. Usha Chandran translated an article on a trending topic in China titled Jia Qianqian’s Poetry Stirring up Social Media Storm in China.




The ICS conducted three webinars this month.


Prof. Da Wei, Department of International Relations, Tsinghua University spoke on US-China Relations after 100 Days of the Biden Administration on 4 May. Amb. Ashok K Katha, Director, ICS, chaired the event. (SoundCloud)  (YouTube)


Dr. Ritu Agarwal, Associate Professor, Centre for East Asian studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University,  Dr. Bhim Subba, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Hyderabad, and  Visiting Research Associate, ICS and  Mr. Ravi Bhoothalingam, Founder and Chairman of Manas Advisory and Honorary Fellow, ICS spoke on China's Domestic Governance - County Administration; Cadres and their Role; Science and Technology Governance; 'Leading Small Groups' on 19 May. Amb. Kishan S. Rana, Emeritus Fellow of Institute of Chinese Studies and Former Ambassador & High Commissioner to Algeria, Czechoslovakia, Kenya, Mauritius and Germany was in Chair. (SoundCloud)  (YouTube)


Dr. Veda Vaidyanathan, Visiting Research Associate, ICS, Dr. Caesar Cheelo, Senior Research Fellow, Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis and Research (ZIPAR) and Associate Executive Director, Southern African Institute for Policy and Research (SAIPR),  Mr. Musadabwe Chulu, Policy Analyst, Ministry of Agriculture, Government of Zambia, Dr. Muyubozi Sikalubya, research fellow and lecturer of history, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zambia and Ms. Tong Wu, independent China-Africa consultant, spoke on China-Zambia Economic Relations: Perspectives from the Agricultural Sectoron 26 May. Amb. Rajiv Bhatia, Distinguished Fellow, Gateway House was in Chair. (SoundCloud)  (YouTube)



This month we had eight publications in total – two Occasional Paper, one ICS Analysis, one ICS Translations and four ICS Research Blogs.


ICS Occasional Paper

  1. Mr. Sriram Natrajan, Adjunct Fellow, Institute of Chinese Studies, Delhi, on Urban Agriculture, Food Security and Sustainable Urban Food Systems in China,
  2. Dr. Malini Tantri, Assistant Professor, ISEC, Bengaluru; Dr. Nalin Kumar, Associate Professor, Presidency University, Bengaluru and; Dr. Varadurga Bhat, Assistant Professor, Christ University (Deemed to be), Bengaluru, on Trade Irritants and Non-Tariff Measures between China and India.


ICS Analysis

  1. Amb. Biren Nanda, former High Commissioner/Ambassador to Australia, Indonesia & ASEAN on China’s Rise and the Future of Sino-US Relations: How Countervailing Strategies like the Quad are Defining Sino-US Competition in Asia.


ICS Research Blogs

  1. Dr. Hemant Adlakha, Honorary Fellow, Institute of Chinese Studies and Associate Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, onClimate Envoy Kerry in Shanghai to ‘Woo Xi’ to Attend Biden’s Climate Summit (Revised and updated version of an earlier article titled “Kerry’s China Visit: ‘A Weasel Paying a New Year Call to a Chicken” published in Modern Diplomacy on 19 April, 2021.)
  2. Dr. Hemant Adlakha, Honorary Fellow, Institute of Chinese Studies and Associate Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, onClimate Diplomacy or Climate ‘Politrick. (First published under the title “Is the Washington Initiated Climate Summit a Biden ‘Politrick’” in Modern Diplomacy on 22 April 2021)
  3. Mr. Halim Nazar, Research Intern, ICS on Chinese Claims on the South China Sea are Infringing on India’s Economic and Geopolitical Interests.
  4. Ms. Chandam Thareima, Research Intern, ICS, onChina’s Changing Role in the United Nations Security Council, 2007-2017.


ICS Translations

  1. Dr. Usha Chandran, Adjunct Fellow, ICS and Assistant Professor,
    Centre for Chinese and South East Asian Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University translated Jia Qianqian’s Poetry Stirring up Social Media Storm in China.



Amb. Shivshankar Menon, Chairman, Advisory Board, ICS, and Former National Security Advisor, Government of India spoke at an event titled India, China and the US: A New Geopolitical Landscape? organized by The Financial Times and The Indian Express on 20 May. Amb. Menon’s interview was published by The Indian Express in their article titled Shivshankar Menon: ‘Post-Covid, everyone will be diminished. We have to handle our problems competently… not do image management on 24 May. Prof. Alka Acharya, Honorary Fellow, ICS, and Professor, Centre for East Asian Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi was quoted in articles titled, Official Chinese social media accounts forced to delete posts mocking India’s Covid-19 death toll by South China Morning Post on 3 May 2021, and The party body mocked the mass bonfires of the covids, see the embarrassing announcement (in Croatian - Partijsko tijelo rugalo se masovnim lomańćama umrlih od covida, pogledajte sramotnu objavu) by Croatian newspaper Jutarnji on 5 May 2021. Dr. Madhurima Nundy, Assistant Director and Fellow, ICS, Delhi was quoted in an article titled, Grim image of India prompts debate over China’s swaggering propaganda by The New York Times and The Economic Times on 4 May 2021. Dr. P.K. Anand, Research Associate, ICS wrote on  India’s workers devastated by deadly second wave of Covid-19 for China Labour Bulletin on 13 May. Dr. Partha Mukhopadhyay, Senior Fellow at the Center for Policy Research wrote on  Stop posturing; start vaccinating for the Hindustan Times on 11 May and on Times Face-Off: CoWin is meant to ease access to vaccines, but is it instead proving to be an obstacle for the digitally disadvantaged? for The Times of India on 21 May. Dr. Hemant Adlakha, Honorary Fellow, Institute of Chinese Studies and Associate Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, wrote two pieces for Modern Diplomacy on Kissinger Again Warns US, China Heading for Armageddon-like Clash and Of Prejudice and Victimhood on 5 and 18 May 2021 respectively. Dr. Happymon Jacob, Adjunct Fellow, ICS and Associate Professor, Centre for International Politics, Organization and Disarmament, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, penned a piece for The Hindu titled A COVID blot on India’s foreign policy canvas on 5 May. Dr. Zorawar Daulet Singh, Adjunct Fellow, ICS was interviewed by Newslaundry, for their article on India-China relations on 20 May and  his recent book was reviewed by The Telegraph on 14 May. 



Amb. Shivshankar Menon, Chairman, Advisory Board, ICS, and Former National Security Advisor, Government of India was interviewed by the Mint Lounge on his book titled ‘India and Asian Geopolitics: The Past, Present’. The interview was published under the title, 'India's way forward is to engage': Shiv Shankar Menon on 5 May. Amb. Menon’s other interviews this month included: India’s Unique Situation: Talking to Shivshankar Menon published by Los Angeles Review of Books on 13 May; India and UK can build up ties without EU’s influence, says Shivshankar Menon published by Eastern Eye on 19 May; and Interview: Shivshankar Menon On His New Book ‘India And Asian Geopolitics’ published by Youth ki Awaz on 26 May. Amb. Menon also spoke at an event titled A Conversation with Ambassador Shivshankar Menon: India and Asian Geopolitics, The Past, Present organised by The Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada on 7 May; on Five Fault Lines: Reflections on South Asian Frontiers at the International Conference on South Asia, organised by Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore on 10 May; on the Record Conversation organised by India Women’s Press Corps on 15 May; and in a webinar titled, 'India and Asian Geopolitics: The Past, Present,' Amb. Shivshankar Menon organised by Pathfinders Foundation on 21 May. His recent book “India and Asia Geo-politics: The Past, Present” received interesting reviews by India Today, Eurasia Review and Outlook during the month. Prof. Rama V. Baru, Professor, Centre of Social Medicine and Community Health, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Honorary Fellow, ICS, Delhi was interviewed by Mojo Story on Modi Government Guilty of "Criminal Negligence | The Emperor has No Clothes" | India COVID Crisis on 5 May. Dr. Ritu Agarwal, Associate Professor at Centre for East Asian Studies and Honorary fellow, ICS, Delhi was interviewed on the topic Yunnan as a Regional Economic Model which was published in Vol.1, No.4 April Chinese Views of Non-Traditional Security, co-published by Saint-Pierre Center for International Security and Intellisia Institute, Guangzhou. Dr. Rityusha Tiwari, Visiting Fellow, ICS, and Assistant Editor, China Report, spoke at a Panel Discussion titled, Regionalism in World Politics Post COVID19' organised by Raisina House on 17 May. Dr. Swargajyoti Gohain, Head of the Department, Sociology and Anthropology at Ashoka University paid rich tributes to the role of the ICS Border Studies Program and Prof. Patricia Uberoi in her book, Imagined Geographies in the Indo-Tibetan Borderlands: Culture, Politics, Place. The Monograph was published by Amsterdam University Press last year and is now available in India. Dr. Gohain was Research Assistant at ICS from 2004 to 2006.


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We look forward to your participation in our events and activities in the coming days and hope for your continued support.


Please take care and stay safe and healthy.


Best regards,

Ashok K. Kantha






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