Transboundary Effects of Infrastructure Development: A View from Brahmaputra-Meghna Basin

Mirza Zulfiqur Rahman, Ruth Gamble, Vishwa Ranjan Sinha

Wednesday Seminar | Zoom Webinar |6 October 2021


The Brahmaputra River basin is shared between China, India, Bhutan, and Bangladesh. China and India have already fought a war in the territory through which the river flows. Bangladesh faces incredible human security pressures in its basin area that will only magnify with upstream river practices. River systems are managed differently in different countries, and dam-building activities and water diversion plans threaten the stability of the whole region. Still, there is no sign of an effective bilateral or multilateral water management accord in the Brahmaputra basin. Countries sharing a river need to resolve the issues through effective hydro-diplomacy. Changes in a river’s dynamics are considered ‘legitimate rights’ of countries on the rivers passing through their territories. However, the bilateral tensions that spur the dam-building race make the river a victim with devastating consequences for the fragile ecology and the people of the region. Countries in the Brahmaputra basin share the same water resources and ecological corridors. Any disaster that strikes upon a country will have a transboundary impact on other countries in the region. Due to these associated disaster risks, countries in the region require data sharing and cooperation at a multilateral level. Can addressing water-security challenges using a disaster lens create an alternative pathway for pooling resources, building political will, preventing conflicts, and promoting transboundary cooperation between India and China? This seminar discussed all these issues and more.

Migrant Workers’ Housing in Shenzhen: Issues and Challenges

Reeja Nair

Wednesday Seminar | Zoom Webinar |13 October, 2021


In its Thirteenth Five Year Plan in 2016, the government of Shenzhen announced that establishing housing for ‘talent workers’ will be a priority for public housing in the future. In pursuance of this, in August 2018, the Shenzhen Municipal Housing and Construction Bureau announced that by 2035 at least 1 million housing units would be designated as housing units for non-local professionals. Currently, government-funded homes make less than 20% of the total housing stock in Shenzhen. Until recently, only Shenzhen hukou holders could buy or apply for housing in Shenzhen. The new policy changes that. This seminar analysed the government policy of prioritizing housing based on skills (talent workers) by allocating affordable housing in the form of talent workers’ housing (TWH) and tried to understand whether skill could be the basis for efficient allocation of housing for migrant workers in Chinese cities.



Tawang’s Linkages with Bhutan

Sonia Shukla

Wednesday Seminar | Zoom Webinar |20 October, 2021


The Tawang region in Arunachal Pradesh has traditionally been known to draw its linkages from Tibet. Its ethnicity and religious practices are derived directly from Tibet. Until 1951, even the administration of the area was done through the ecclesiastical dispensation headed by the Dalai Lama who ruled Tibet. This is well known and documented. What has remained somewhat covered in a shroud in the historical study of the region is the linkages that Tawang has shared with Bhutan and how it forms a part of the larger Himalayan culture. For those who argue that the region known as Tawang Tract is disputed and that Tibet draws its claim to the region unambiguously, this seminar of Tawang’s historical linkages to Bhutan attempts to illustrate the cultural connections all along the Himalayas. Tibet had a huge impact on the shared cultures of the region but the issue of territorial rights in the modern sense does not draw directly from those linkages.

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The Financialization of Chinese Cities and the Real Estate Industry

Fulong Wu, Tao Wang, Yue Zhang

Wednesday Seminar | Webex Webinar |27 October, 2021


The rapid Chinese urbanisation process has been admired, much studied but perhaps still less understood than one would like. Of particular interest in this process has been the phenomenon often described as financialization and the nexus of land, urban finance and governance and the real estate industry, which by some estimates, may contribute as much as a quarter of GDP, directly and indirectly. The process of urban transformation in China is intricately imbricated with the Chinese growth model. What is the nature of this process and what implication do the recent events in the real estate industry have for the future evolution of Chinese cities and the growth model?



Volume 57 | Issue 3 | August 2021
ICS Analysis

China’s Vaccine Diplomacy: Soft Power, Hegemony and its Geopolitics

Swapneel Thakur | Issue No. 139 | October 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped both human lives and traditional state function since its start in early 2020. In an effort to combat the deadly disease, countries around the world introduced suspensions of travel including, restrictions in cross border travel and nationwide lockdowns. However, as restrictions were eased, the world witnessed a rapid increase in infections with newer variants of the virus, proving that the fight was far from over. While restrictions again are widely being avoided for economic reasons, countries are now looking to create public immunity through the vaccines that have been made available by a select few countries.
ICS Analysis

Examining China’s Position on Myanmar in the United Nations Security Council

Chandam Thareima| Issue No. 140 | October 2021
China has often been criticized for shielding Myanmar from international scrutiny, particularly in the United Nations Security Council. The latest instance being China’s veto on 3 February 2021 against a UNSC joint statement condemning Myanmar’s military for organizing a coup, putting State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and other members of the National League for Democracy (NLD) under detention and causing hundreds of civilian deaths. This is in addition to two previous negative votes in 2007 and 2017 at the UNSC. This paper by tracing the history of China-Myanmar diplomatic relations and by mapping Myanmar’s role in China’s regional strategy seeks to understand China’s stances in the UNSC with regards to Myanmar, the impact that has on Myanmar, China’s interests and perception of the issues in Myanmar, its stance on its principles, its behaviour as a UNSC permanent member, and what that says about China as a rising and as a regional power.
ICS Occasional Paper

Can off tracking Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) cost India’s gain from BCIM?

Saheli Bose | Issue No. 78 | October 2021
BCIM began its journey as a “track two” initiative in 1999, with an aim to bring better coordination in the flow of products, services, energy, investments, technology and people to people contact within the countries of India, China, Bangladesh and Myanmar. At the heart of the BCIM is the Economic Corridor which covers a distance of more than 2800km which seeks to connect the major nodal points along with the remote areas of the member countries. However, BCIM trajectory is hit hard by the skirmishes that have been between India and China due to rolling of CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) and India’s subsequent decision to off track from Chinese led BRI. The Chinese Foreign Ministry website no longer list BCIM as a project covered under BRI umbrella.




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.
E-RMB: A Challenge to Mitigate Trust and Surveillance
Kunal Nitin Timbalia
5 October, 2021
China’s Journey to Vaccine Hegemony
Swapneel Thakur
11 October, 2021


A Key Component of China’s Strategy in the Taliban-ruled Afghanistan is to Make the Indian Role “inconsequential”
Hemant Adlakha
18 October, 2021
Establishment Strikes Back in Japan’s Ruling Party Election
Jojin V. John
24 October, 2021








Xi is taking China away from its proven success path
Gautam Bambawale
The Times of India| 30 September 2021
The Quad could end up running out of steam
Happymon Jacob
The Hindu| 28 September 2021





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