India-Africa Relations and the China Angle


Amb. Rajiv Bhatia, former Ambassador/High Commissioner to Myanmar, Mexico, Kenya, South Africa and Lesothos; Dr. Veda Vaidyanathan, Associate, Harvard University Asia Center; Prof. Renu Modi, Professor & Director, Centre for African Studies, University of Mumbai.

Wednesday Seminar | Zoom Webinar | 6 April 2022


India-Africa engagement can be better studied and appreciated if it is assessed in the larger context of the unfolding changes in Africa and the continent’s growing relations with the international community, especially China. How has China been able to craft a formidable, multi-dimensional relationship with Africa within three decades? What are its key features? This seminar attempted to assess reactions to China's engagement with Africa from within the continent and beyond. Another objective was to examine the nature of competition, if any, between China and India in Africa. The eventual goal was to highlight suitable takeaways for consideration by those who are responsible for framing and implementing India's Africa policy.

The South China Sea and Rules-Based International Order

Dr. Pankaj K. Jha, Professor, Jindal School of International Affairs, O.P. Jindal Global University; Mr. Lucio Blanco Pitlo III, Research Fellow, Asia-Pacific Pathways to Progress Foundation; Ms. Surbhi Moudgil, Research Associate, Institute of Chinese Studies.

Wednesday Seminar | Zoom Webinar | 13 April 2022


China’s sweeping claims of sovereignty over extensive areas of the South China Sea (SCS) and non-adherence of the UN Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) has far-reaching implications which stretch beyond the region. International law reflects the global distribution of power and defending a rules-based order against China’s bid for hegemony in the SCS is critical for upholding international law. The criticality of Southeast Asian countries in upholding the rules-based order has been highlighted by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) under various initiatives. The webinar discussed recent developments pertaining to the SCS to understand the Chinese presence and how this affects its relations with other stakeholders in the region and the implications for the rules-based order.

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Japan’s Surrender in 1945 and the Remaking of Asia

Prof. Hans van de Ven, Author & Professor of Modern Chinese History, Department of East Asian Studies, University of Cambridge.

V.P. Dutt Memorial Lecture | Zoom Webinar |20 April 2022


Japan accepted the allied demand for unconditional surrender on 15 August 1945. Rather than focusing on just Japan and the United States of America (USA) or seeing Japan’s surrender as the definite end of the Second World War, in this special lecture, Hans van de Ven examined the complex politics of surrender as various parties in China, Indonesia, and India negotiated this crucial event. He argued that while the surrender signified the definite end of European imperialism, it also saw the beginning of struggles for dominance of forces in each country that had grown strong and had begun to compete with each other during the Second World War in each of these three countries.




Book Discussion: The Fractured Himalaya: India Tibet China 1949 to 1962

Amb. Nirupama Rao, former Foreign Secretary, Government of India.

Wednesday Seminar | Zoom Webinar |27 April 2022


Amb. Nirupama Rao’s book ‘The Fractured Himalaya: India Tibet China 1949 to 1962’ (Penguin Random House India, 2021) is a history of the diplomacy between India and China during a crucial period of their early nationhood. This year we mark sixty years of the brief but bitter conflict between India and China, fought in the high Himalayas, across terrain that is the most forbidding in the world. Public memory of the war is hazy and often incomplete with numerous stereotypes and an insufficient ‘capture’ of what happened in that eventful year. A new generation of Indians, particularly millennials, have had no exposure to what happened in 1962. Given the current state of India’s relations with China, and the added complications in that relationship, telling the story of the years between 1949 and 1962 in India-China ties is of relevance to the understanding of the disputes between these two nations. A more in-depth understanding of the Tibet factor in the complex relationship is also relevant to the study of diplomacy between India and China. Drawing from her deeply researched book which delves into primary archival resources, Ambassador Rao discussed the complex nature of India-China relations.

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Volume 58| Issue 1 | February 2022

Politics, Displacement and Identity: Kazakh refugees from Xinjiang in Bhopal during World War II

Madhavi Thampi| Issue No. 87 | April 2022
The 1940s saw an unprecedented movement of thousands of Kazakhs from northern Xinjiang province in China to British India. Many of them ended up in Bhopal, a city in Central India completely different from the environs that these nomadic people were used to. Based on materials in the National Archives of India, this study explores the factors leading to this unusual and understudied phenomenon. It also explores how the Kazakh refugees adapted to their new circumstances and alien environment, as well as the knotty questions of nationality, identity, and jurisdiction that their arrival in India posed to the government of British India, Republican China, and the then princely state of Bhopal.

Xi’s Vision for a Just Global Order: Is China Seeking to Replace American Hegemony?

Upasana Ghosh | Issue No: 88 | April 2022
The balance in the the distribution of wealth and economic power is dissipating towards the East. The new narrative is that Rising powers like China are seeking to reshape the prevailing international system that better serves its national values and interests and reflects its own worldview. Due to its growing material power, China under Xi is becoming more vocal about the discrimination in ‘discourse power’ by a West biased international order. Thus, diversity in historical experiences, cultural identity, and political thinking lies at the heart of the system crisis that the ‘Liberal International Order’ is currently confronting. Today, the complexities of Sino-US strategic competition are being realized more than ever before as the challenges to American centrism continue to grow due to Beijing’s proliferating regional and global footprints. This has raised larger questions about how the western democracies will operate in this new geopolitical era to preserve the existing ‘rule-based’ democratic international order.




The ICS Blog is a platform for an open dialogue that aims to inform and enlighten, especially young scholars and analysts on contemporary issues related to China and East Asia.
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Parul Trivedi
16 April 2022
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Hemant Adlakha
12 April 2022






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Indian Defense Review| 28 April 2022




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