Cross-Asiatic Connections in the Late 19th and 20th Centuries

Arpita Bose, Barnali Chanda, James Gethyn Evans, Sudarshana Chanda

Wednesday Seminar | Zoom Webinar |1 September 2021


This seminar intended to examine different narratives (including archival materials, travelogues, journals and newspapers) related to connections across Asia from the 19th and 20th centuries. These narratives impart numerous perspectives on the notion of connections, journey and migration as ideological and intellectual pursuits in the Asian context. The documents describe the unstable social and political environment and provide an account of both the human and governmental enterprises. The narratives describing cultural and linguistic experiences, espionage, different eye-witness and archival account of communist revolutions and disillusionment with socialist China reveal an empirical discourse. By examining the narratives and archival works, the seminar examined the connection between personal and collective memories which become a means to substantiate the knowledge about the past and their understanding of the present. 

The Party and the People: CCP and the Private Sector

Bruce J. Dickson

Wednesday Seminar | Zoom Webinar |8 September 2021


Since Xi Jinping became General Secretary of the CCP in 2012, much attention has been paid to his steady accumulation of power. A parallel trend has received much less attention: the revival and strengthening of the CCP’s Leninist traditions. This Leninist revival is manifest in several ways, including the creation of party organizations in private enterprises and civil society organizations. In this talk, Bruce Dickson discussed the CCP’s Leninist revival, based on his recently published book, The Party and the People: Chinese Politics in the 21st Century (Princeton 2021).



Book Discussion: China Inc.: Between State Capitalism and Economic Statecraft

Aravind Yelery, Santishree Pandit, Jaimini Bhagwati, Partha Mukhopadhyay

Wednesday Seminar | Zoom Webinar |15 September 2021


The reform of China’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in the 1990s was politically unpleasant and socially threatening. There were mass closures of firms, tens of millions of lay-offs, and stock market listings for many of the biggest state firms which made them run like private companies. Today, SOEs produce one-third of China’s GDP and provide one-fifth of all its jobs. SOEs have been given the task of re-engineering the relations of production so that they remain at the ‘core’ as espoused by Communist Party of China General Secretary Xi Jinping during the 19th Party Congress. Internally, SOEs drive China’s brand of state capitalism, while externally SOEs form part of a well-crafted Chinese economic statecraft, signing deals around the world and giving the impression of ‘good’ state-run giants comprising an elite class of Chinese firms from the Fortune 500 that are influencing relations between nations and economies. This seminar discussed Aravind Yelery’s new book, China Inc.: Between State Capitalism and Economic Statecraft (Pentagon Press 2021). 

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China’s Position on Afghanistan

Gautam Mukhopadhaya, Andrew Small, Suhasini Haidar

Wednesday Seminar | Webex Webinar |22 September 2021


China sees an opportunity in and is tempted by the space vacated by the withdrawal of US troops and the takeover of the Taliban with whom it has cultivated relations over years to step into Afghanistan economically and strategically. At the same time, in the short term, it is also anxious to crush any trouble from the ETIM in the Af-Pak area. China has also been pursuing strategic connectivity and infrastructure projects in Central and Western Asia as a way to relieve pressure from the US and Quad in the Indo-Pacific. In light of the recent political turmoil in Afghanistan, this panel discussion examined the factors that will condition Beijing’s relations with the Taliban and its interim government; the likely trajectory of Chinese policy on Afghanistan in the near-term and long-term; and how Afghanistan sits in broader strategic competition between China and the US. It also explored the dynamics and challenges facing China in meeting its objectives as well as the evolving China-Pakistan relationship in Afghanistan.



India, China, Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and Regional Geopolitics

Happymon Jacob

Wednesday Seminar | Zoom Webinar |29 September 2021


The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is likely to play a major role in the geopolitics of the South-Central Asian region. US withdrawal from Afghanistan, SCO’s focus on post-American Afghanistan and the growing proximity among China, Russia and Pakistan will make SCO a potent vehicle of regional geopolitics. In this context, it would be interesting to analyse the impact of the current geopolitical trends and deteriorating Sino-Indian bilateral relations on India’s engagement with the SCO in the broader context of PRC’s long-term aims vis-à-vis the SCO. What role, if any, will the SCO play in stabilizing the current disquiet in India-China relations? How does India view its role in the SCO in the wake of a two-front challenge from the PRC and Pakistan and its larger policy towards Central Asia? How will India balance its engagement in the SCO with its growing participation in the Indo-Pacific agenda through other groupings such as the QUAD? This seminar discussed all these topical issues and more.  



Volume 57 | Issue 3 | August 2021

Decoding the Myanmar Crisis: Domestic Factors behind Coup, External Players help Sustain it

Jelvin Jose | Issue No. 136 | September 2021
For Myanmar, which has been under authoritarian military rule for several decades, the restoration of partial democracy in 2011, in a power-sharing agreement with an elected civilian government, notwithstanding the military’s dominance, was a ray of hope. In spite of being under the shadow of a military-dominated constitution, Myanmar achieved considerable progress under such a "semi-democratic” setup.

China’s Recent Tech Regulatory Measures

Sharmila Kantha |Issue No. 137 | September 2021
China’s recent regulatory measures related to large technology-led companies have raised questions about its future economic growth trajectory and relations between the Government and the private sector. The measures pertain to diverse industry sectors, aiming at different objectives such as national security, data protection, changing undesired consumer behaviours, and curbing monopolies, among others.

“Loveable” China in times of Covid-19: China’s “Vaccine Diplomacy” in Southeast Asia

Anurag Viswanath| Issue No. 77 | September 2021
China’s economic muscle and footprint has been on the rise in the world. So has China's outreach of its foreign policy. But proportionately, China’s soft power has been on the decline. Despite being a ‘rising’ power, there has been a visible global pushback and backlash to both China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as well as its “go-out” foreign policy. But today, China has a new policy thrust, a corrective to make China “lovable”. 

China and India Strategic Theatre: Case Study Sri Lanka

Raviprasad Narayanan | September 2021
For long a marginal sphere in geopolitics, South Asia is now witnessing the beginnings of a rivalry that are altering the strategic landscape of the region. The growing rivalry between China and India in the region has a powerful underlying message for India - being marginalized within its own geographical sphere by China. This working paper argues that a strategic paradox exists in South Asia with India remaining the central pillar and regional superpower




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.
China’s Rendezvous with the Taliban: An Uneasy Alliance
Rangoli Mitra
3 September, 2021
Seven Months post-Coup, Decoding China’s Myanmar Policy
Jelvin Jose
8 September, 2021





Article 370 & Ladakh: Disillusionment With BJP Govt Makes Leh-Kargil Join Hands
Siddiq Wahid
The Quint | 5 August 2021
India, China pull out of Gogra
Gautam Bambawale
Mint | 6 August 2021





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