Vol 15, No. 1  -  Jan-Mar 2020

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Somen Banerjee: A serving Commodore, Indian Navy; Was till recently, senior  Research fellow at the National Maritime Foundation,  New Delhi and was earlier Senior Fellow  at the Vivekananda International Foundation,  New Delhi.  Author of recent Books,  'Maritime Power through Blue Economy ' and 'Sea of collective Destiny: Bay of Bengal and BIMSTEC'

The United Nation’s Agenda of Sustainable Peace: Implications for SAGAR

Two decades into the twentieth century, traditional interstate conflicts continue to persist. However, peace and security are no longer measured only in terms of conventional wars. Under-development in many parts of the globe manifests itself in crime, terrorism, and civil wars which, invariably, have a transnational character, and affect regional stability. In 2016, the United Nations Security Council and the General Assembly adopted concurrent resolutions on Sustainable Peace, recognising that development, peace, and security are firmly interlinked. In 2015, Prime Minister Modi enunciated India’s foreign policy vision of Security and Growth for all in the Region (SAGAR) that conflates security with development. This paper seeks to access the extent to which the United Nations has been able to deliver on its sustainable peace agenda. It examines the conceptual compatibility between sustainable peace and SAGAR. Finally, the essay argues that SAGAR not only provides a framework for maritime governance in the Indian Ocean but is also a strategy for sustainable peace with a global footprint

Suranjan Das and Subhadeep Bhattacharya: Dr. Suranjan Das is Vice-Chancellor, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, and Hony. Director, Netaji Institute For Asian Studies (NIAS), Kolkata; Mr. Subhadeep Bhattacharya is a Research Assistant at the NIAS.

India and Singapore: Fifty Years of Diplomatic Relations

In ancient times, Singapore - earlier known as Tamaseek - was linked to the Greater India economy and culture through India’s expanding maritime trade.  The modern-day relationship between India and Singapore can be traced to 1891 when Stamford Raffles convinced the East India Company administration to make the trading station of Singapore (en route to the Straits of Malacca) a British base between South and Southeast Asia.  Thus, Singapore became a crown colony, governed from Calcutta till 1867. Singapore’s Foreign Minister, George Yeo, called modern Singapore the ‘daughter of Kolkata’.  Later, this British strategic enclave became the base of Indian nationalists fighting British imperialism from abroad, with Subhas Chandra Bose setting up the Indian National Army in Singapore in July 1943. From 21 October 1943 onwards, the Provincial Government of Azad Hind functioned from Singapore till it was moved to Rangoon on 7 January 1944. Singapore became a part of Malaya in 1962, but broke away in 1965 as an independent republic. The relationship between India and Singapore survived the difficult terrain of the Cold War to become what Prime Minister Modi calls, the ‘warmest and closest’ relationship

Sana Hashmi: Dr. Sana Hashmi is Visiting Fellow at the Institute of International Relations, National Chengchi University, Non-Resident Fellow at Taiwan’s NextGen Foundation, and affiliated scholar with the Research Institute for Indo-Pacific Affairs, Japan. She is a former Consultant with the Ministry of External Affairs, Republic of India, and the author of China’s Approach towards Territorial Disputes: Lessons and Prospects (KW Publishers, April 2018).

India-Taiwan Relations: Time is Ripe to Bolster Ties

2020 will be remembered for a number of reasons. COVID-19 has changed the world in unimaginable ways. However, one silver lining of the pandemic is that it expanded Taiwan’s global space. One of the greatest developments of 2020 was a deeper understanding about Taiwan worldwide, especially in India. Due to Taiwan’s impeccable COVID-19 response and also India-China violent clashes in the Galwan valley, domestic public opinion in India is increasingly shifting in favour of Taiwan. However, despite this positive momentum, the Indian leadership still remains cautious about elevating political ties with Taiwan.


N. Manoharan and Ashwin Immanuel Dhanabalan: Dr. N. Manoharan and Mr. Ashwin Immanuel Dhanabalan are, respectively, Associate Professor and a Masters scholar with the Department of International Studies, Political Science and History, CHRIST (Deemed to be University). Dr. Manoharan had earlier served at the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS), Prime Minister’s Office, New Delhi.

Punching Above Weight? The Role of Sri Lanka in BIMSTEC

Sri Lanka is undoubtedly a key member of BIMSTEC, and has been intensely involved in making the grouping more vibrant in all the 14 sectors identified for cooperation. The fact that India is keen on energising BIMSTEC, is a big plus for Sri Lanka’s ambitions. As the current chair (2018 to 2020), it has facilitated conduct of three Permanent Working Committee Meetings and a Senior Officials Meeting.  Over a period of time, Sri Lanka did inject dynamism and added vitality to the organisation in various capacities.






Arvind Gupta: Director, Vivekananda International Foundation, New Delhi and former Director General, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses

S. Jaishankar, The India Way: Strategies for an Uncertain World, (New Delhi, HarperCollins India, 2020), Pages:  240 (HB), Price:  Rs. 296.54 (K), Rs.  558.00 (HB).


Pinak Ranjan Chakravarthy: Ambassador Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty is a former Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs; former High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh; former Ambassador to Thailand; Visiting Fellow, Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi.

Vijay Sakhuja, Somen Banerjee, Sea of Collective Destiny: Bay of Bengal And Bimstec, (New Delhi, Pentagon Press, 2020), Pages: 192 (HB), Price: 795.00, (HB) Rs. 596.00 (SB)


Shreya Upadhyay: Dr. Shreya Upadhyay, is a visiting faculty with Symbiosis University and a Senior Analyst with India Bound. A former Nehru-Fulbright pre-doctoral scholar with American University, Washington DC, she was also a researcher with the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies, New Delhi..

Shakti Sinha (Ed), One Mountain Two Tigers: India, China and the High Himalayas, (New Delhi, Pentagon Press, 2020), Pages: ... (HB), Price: 614.00, (HB)


Skand Ranjan Tayal:  Ambassador Skand Ranjan Tayal is a former Ambassador of India to Uzbekistan; and to the Republic of Korea.  He was also a Visiting Professor in the Department of East Asian Studies, Delhi University.

Lakhan Mehrotra. The Odyssey of a Diplomat: Through the Corridors of Time ,  (New Delhi,  Heritage Publishers, 2020), Price: Rs. 595.00 (PB)  695.00 (HB), Pages: 356 (PB) 356 (HB)


Rajiv Narayanan: Major General Rajiv Narayanan, AVSM, VSM (Retd), is presently the Head, Centre for Strategic Studies and Simulation (CS3), The United Service Institution of India, New Delhi.

Anil Wadhwa,  Arvind Gupta (Eds), India’s Foreign Policy: Surviving in a Turbulent World, (New Delhi, Sage / VIF, 2020), Pages: 440  Price: 598.85 (K), 1,310.00 (HB) 1,230.00 (PB)




Compendium of Contributions

Published in Volume 14 (2019)




Vol 15, No. 2  -  Apr-Jun 2020

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Talmiz Ahmad : The author, Ambassador Talmiz Ahmad, is a former Ambassador of India to Saudi Arabia (twice), to the U.A.E, and to Yemen. He was also Additional Secretary for International Cooperation in India’s Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. He holds the Ram Sathe Chair for International Studies, Symbiosis International University, Pune.

The Enduring “Arab Spring”: Change and Resistance

Ten years ago, the Arab Spring uprisings brought down four long-standing authoritarian rulers. The uprisings (in the early 2010s) had been driven by a desire to replace tyranny, crony capitalism, and corruption with an order that was transparent and accountable, and provided for popular participation. However, rather than ushering in the wide-ranging reforms that were being demanded from the street, West Asia has been engulfed in several conflicts as the forces of counter-revolution attempt to maintain the existing political and economic order. In order to stem the tide of change, Saudi Arabia has sought to mobilise domestic and regional support by accusing Iran of harbouring hegemonic designs in the region, and is challenging Iranian influence in Syria and Yemen.

However, the Arab Spring events have also thrown up competitions within the votaries of political Islam, in which Turkey and Qatar are ranged against Saudi Arabia, backed by the UAE and Egypt. The “second wave” of the Arab Spring uprisings in four countries in 2018–20, that led to the fall of four more rulers, suggests that the popular struggle for reform in West Asia remains resilient, and is likely to be a long-term revolutionary process.


Shebonti Ray Dadwal: The author. is an independent Consultant on Energy and Resources Security and is a former Senior Fellow at the Manohar Parikkar institute of Defence Studies and Analyses

India’s Challenges in Accessing Critical Minerals

In June 2019, 10 countries formed a forum called the Energy Resource Governance Initiative or ERGI, to share their mining experiences and advise producer countries discover and develop minerals like lithium, copper, and cobalt, with minimum impact on the environment. An American-driven venture, the ERGI includes countries that have some of the world’s largest mineral reserves. Given the world’s focus on de-carbonisation and technological innovation across all sectors, a race for access to critical minerals like rare earths, lithium, and cobalt is heating up. According to the World Bank, the demand for minerals for advanced batteries and magnets used in wind and solar panels as well as defence and telecom equipment could grow by up to 1000 percent in 20 to 30 years. Therefore, when China, which has succeeded in gaining control over the supply chain of these critical minerals, suggested using them as a geopolitical weapon by threatening to deny access to these minerals, an alarmed world, led by Washington, began to take steps to counter China. It is in this light that the timing of ERGI’s establishment is being perceived as a strategic initiative.

As India takes its place as a frontrunner in adopting clean energy, its demand for renewable energy equipment will increase exponentially. However, India is deficient in many of the minerals that are required for the manufacture of renewable energy hardware. Moreover, with the recent hardening of relations between New Delhi and Beijing, India’s dependence on China for equipment like solar panels and batteries renders it vulnerable to any disruption in supplies. This article looks at China’s strategy in acquiring strategic minerals, and the response of other nations, including India, in ensuring the security of their critical minerals supply chain.


Rushali Saha:  Ms. Rushali Saha, is a Research Associate at the Centre for Air Power Studies, New Delhi.

Positioning the Indo-Pacific in India’s Evolving Maritime Outlook

This paper attempts to trace the evolution of India’s maritime outlook and shows how, over the years, a paradigm shift is evident in India’s worldview whereby a continental focus onto South Asia has been complemented by a maritime focus. India has come to formally recognise the geo-strategic importance of the Indo-Pacific to its own national security and strategic interests. This is reflected in its naval modernisation efforts as well as in official policy positions and diplomatic manoeuvrings. The paper identifies inclusivity and ASEAN centrality as the main pillars of India’s Indo-Pacific approach which, while converging with ASEAN’s outlook on the Indo-Pacific, is distinct from the US vision for the region. In assessing India’s approach to the QUAD, the paper identifies some tension between India’s Indo-Pacific approach and the QUAD. However, it also argues that such tensions have been accommodated, and India’s maritime moves have to be seen as an extension of the fundamental principles driving its own foreign policy, i.e. ensuring self-sufficiency and independence.

The paper argues that such a position is well suited for the rapidly changing balance of power equations in the region which demand flexible restructuring rather than a formal security “alliance.” Moreover, focusing on inclusivity would allow India to allay the fears of smaller South Asian neighbours, such as Sri Lanka, of increasing the securitisation of the region as well as of traditional partners such as Russia who see QUAD as “anti-China.” The paper concludes that India’s nuanced SAGAR vision is based on an acknowledgment of the unique reality of the dynamic balance of power equations in the region, and reflects its diplomatic exceptionalism.


Adil Rasheed: Dr Adil Rasheed is Research Fellow and Coordinator of Counter Terrorism Department at the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence and Analyses (MP-IDSA). He is author of Countering the Radical Narrative (2020), ISIS: Race to Armageddon (2015).

West Asia: From Non-State Radicalism to State Revisionism

The crater left by the decimated ISIS proto-state has become the epicentre for a new wave of turmoil in West Asia. As shell-shocked jihadist groups struggle to regain their footing in the region, some of their shadowy patron states have decided to militarily step into the hollowed out geostrategic space, even as US forces continue to draw down their troop levels from the region. With Turkey and Iran making blatant incursions into Arab lands as part of their revisionist imperialism, Gulf monarchies seem to be dumping their Salafi-Wahhabi extremism in favour of a fledgling Semitic neologism, envisioned as ‘Abraham Accords’, to keep non-Semite powers out of bounds. Meanwhile, the scattered jihadist forces are scouting for safer havens in sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia, and the Af-Pak region. Thus, non-state radicalism appears, for the time being, to be giving way to state revisionism, and a more conventional form of militarism in West Asia.

The first half of this paper focuses on the causes for the current phase of evident decline in jihadist activity in West Asia, while the second half hones in on the incipient haggling for hegemony between Turkey and Iran which has started to arouse historical strains of imperialist rivalry. In making these propositions, the paper is not oblivious to the outward facade of cooperation within present-day frail alliances; nor does it claim that the stated historical hostilities would invariably manifest in the future. This paper is merely a Rorschach reading of West Asia’s shifting sands: that is, the study of a few inchoate trends that might strengthen over time.


Sitakanta Mishra: Dr Sitakanta Mishra, is an Associate Professor in the School of Liberal Studies (SLS) of Pandit Deendayal Energy University (PDEU), Gujarat, India.

Pandemic Geopolitics and India

By now, the world seems to have learned to live with the Corona virus which is likely to cast its spell for some more months. Meanwhile, active and new infection cases have started to decline in many countries, along with a growing momentum in the vaccination drive around the world. Nevertheless, the aftershocks of the pandemic are real. No event since World War II has triggered such distinct global effects on human and state behaviour so rapidly. The pandemic’s transformational effects on global affairs are yet to surface fully. While there is no unanimity yet on the ushering in of a new world order, the pandemic’s upshot is consequential for the current world order.

Will 2019-20 be viewed as another turning point in the geopolitical history of the world? Will 2019-20 be a hinge in human history with an ex-post shift in the core concepts that defined pre COVID-19 world politics? Has a transformation process of the fundamental factors of global politics - like the distribution of power, the calculation of interest, or the constitution of global actors - begun?

The debate over the pandemic’s transformative effects on geopolitics is gradually unfolding. Many argue that the effects of the pandemic will be more sweeping; others think 2019-20 is unlikely to be an inflection point. Undeniably, pandemics and politics are always intertwined and, for most of human history, pandemics have had considerable effects on international affairs.





Sanjay Kumar Pandey: Prof. Sanjay Kumar Pandey, Centre for Russian and Central Asian Studies, School of International Studies,  Jawaharlal Nehru University. New Delhi

Achal Malhotra, The South Caucasus: Transition from Subjugation to Independence, (New Delhi, ICWA / Macmillan Education, 2020), Pages: 248, Price: Rs. 2,215.00


Ashish Shukla: Dr Ashish Shukla, Assistant Lecturer, Amity University, NOIDA

S. Narayan and Sreeradha Datta (Eds), 'Bangladesh at 50: Development and Challenges', (New Delhi, Orient BlackSwan, 2020), Pages: 292Price: 829.00 (HB) 509.00 (PB),



Vol 15, No. 3  -  Jul -Sep 2020

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Special Issue


India - Bangladesh Relations @ 50: The Way Forward



In 2021, Bangladesh will celebrate the 50th year of her independence. Bangladesh’s War of Liberation remains an inspirational saga of valour, determination and sacrifice. Since India played a vital role in this war, both countries annually commemorate 16th December as “Bijoy Dibosh” and Victory Day. To mark this historic milestone, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a virtual Summit on December 17, 2020.

Bangladesh’s emergence on the international stage as a free, sovereign and independent country was a significant geo-political event that changed the political geography of South Asia.

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[T]his golden jubilee year may be the right time to take stock of the state of bilateral relations between the two countries. What have been the positive aspects of these relations? Where have been the hurdles and hiccups? What lessons can we draw from the experience of the past five decades? What steps, both conventional and based on out-of-box thinking, can we adopt to push these relations to greater heights?

This Journal has, periodically, published 'debates' on India-Bangladesh relations. The last one was two years ago, in 2018.  For this special issue, the Journal had invited a few leading expert analysts on the subject to comment on the above issues. Their views are being published in the pages of this special issue.

(The Joint Statement, issued at the end of the 'India - Bangladesh (Virtual) Summit' held on December 17, 2020, is also being carried, as a backgrounder).


December 30, 2020

Full text of the Concept Note


(The views expressed by the authors are their own, and do not reflect the views of the Indian Foreign Affairs Journal, or that of the Association of Indian Diplomats)



Sreeradha Datta: Dr. Sreeradha Datta, is Centre Head, Neighbourhood Studies and Senior Fellow, Vivekananda International Foundation, New Delhi and Non-Resident Senior Fellow, ISAS-NUS. Singapore.

Towards a Durable Political Understanding: Fifty Years of Indo-Bangladesh Relations


Shamsher Chowdhury, BB:  Ambassador Shamsher M. Chowdhury, Bir Bikrom, is a decorated war hero, and a former Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh.

Bangladesh-India Relations: History and the Way Forward


Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty: Ambassador Pinak Ranjan Chakravarty is a former Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, and a former High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh, and Ambassador of India to Thailand.

Bangladesh-India Ties: 50 Years and Beyond


Smruti S Pattanaik : Dr. Smruti S Pattanaik is a Research Fellow at the Manohar Parikkar  Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi.

India - Bangladesh Relations: Enduring Challenges


Anasua Basu Ray Chaudhury : Dr. Anasua Basu Ray Chaudhury, is Senior Fellow, Observer Research Foundation, Kolkata Chapter.

Re-Connecting Neighbours: India-Bangladesh Relations @ 50


Joyeeta Bhattacharjee: Dr. Joyeeta Bhattacharjee, is a Senior Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi.

Celebrating 50 years of India-Bangladesh Relations


Anand Kumar:  Dr. Anand Kumar is an Associate Fellow at the Manohar Parikkar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi,

India-Bangladesh Relations: Some Issues Need Deft Handling


Ashish Shukla: Dr. Ashish Shukla is an Assistant Professor, Amity University, NOIDA and was till recently, Research Fellow, Indian Council of World Affairs, New Delhi.

Strengthening Cooperation and Reducing Irritants: India-Bangladesh Relations Today


Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury: Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury is the Diplomatic Editor -- Economic Times, New Delhi

The Resilience of Secularism in Bangladesh


Sanjay K Bhardwaj: Dr. Sanjay K Bhardwaj, is Professor for South Asian Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

Tenets of India-Bangladesh Relations





India - Bangladesh (Virtual) Summit, December 17, 2020: Joint Statement



Vol 15, No. 4  -  Oct - Dec 2020

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Special Issue


India-US Relations under the Joe Biden Administration



A robust bilateral strategic partnership with India has been backed by successive United States administrations. It enjoys strong bipartisan support from the two main political parties in the US the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. Special focus on prioritising India-US relations can particularly be observed since the Clinton Administration, with increasing importance given to it by successive Presidents since then. A range of factors have contributed to this ascendancy in the bilateral relationship between India and the US, most importantly, the acknowledgment of India’s growing economic and strategic importance and its rising weight in global and Asian geopolitics today. As Joe Biden assumed office as the 46th President of the United States with a formal inaugural ceremony on 20 January 2021, questions about the nature of India-US relations under a new US administration have become pertinent. This issue of the Journal focuses on various aspects of India-US relations under the Biden administration.

With the changing political landscape in the US, this issue of the Journal focuses on issues and challenges to India-US relations under the new Biden administration. What will US-India relations under Biden Administration look like? Will the fundamental levers driving India-US relations get further strengthened? Will Biden’s approach to India be fundamentally different from Trump’s? Will it be, by and large, the same? How will the impact of the pandemic influence the future course of this strategic partnership? Will the understanding between the two countries on the Indo-Pacific persist?

The Journal has, periodically published 'debates' on India-US relations. The last one was four years ago, in 2017.  For this special issue, the Journal invited a few experts  on the subject to comment on the above issues. Their views are published in this special issue.


January 21, 2021

Full Text of the Concept Note


(The views expressed by the authors are their own, and do not reflect the views of the Indian Foreign Affairs Journal, or that of the Association of Indian Diplomats)



Chintamani Mahapatra: Prof. Chintamani Mahapatra is Rector, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and Professor for American Studies, School for International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University,  New Delhi.

Indo-US Relations under the Biden Administration: Predictable Difficulties Ahead


Arun K. Singh: Ambassador Arun K. Singh was, till recently, the Ambassador of India to the United States, and is a former Ambassador of India to France and to Israel.

India - US Relations: Continued Convergence, New Vistas, Managing Differences


Annpurna Nautiyal: Professor Annpurna Nautiyal, is Vice Chancellor, HNB Garhwal University, Srinagar, Garhwal, Uttarakhand

India and the Biden Presidency


Arvind Kumar: Prof. Arvind Kumar is Professor, American Studies Programme and Chairperson, Centre for Canadian, US and Latin American Studies, School of International Studies, JNU, New Delhi.

India and the United States in the Emerging Global Order


Sanjukta Bhattacharya: Prof. Sanjukta Bhattacharya is a former Professor, Department of International Relations, Jadavpur University, Kolkata

India-US Relations under the Biden Administration: Future through Prism of the Past


Monish Tourangbam: Dr. Monish Tourangbam, is Assistant Professor at the Department of Geopolitics and International Relations, Manipal University (Karnataka).

The Biden Administration: Elevating America’s Shared Strategic Future with India


Pramit Pal Chaudhuri: Pramit Pal Chaudhuri, is a Distinguished Fellow and Head of Strategic Affairs, Ananta Aspen Centre, New Delhi.

A 'Climate Handshake': The India-US Green Strategic Partnership


G. Balachnadran: Dr. G. Balachandran was till recently Consulting Fellow at the Manohar Parikkar  Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi

The Biden Presidency: Some Indian Concerns


Shreya Upadhyay: Dr. Shreya Upadhyay is Assistant Professor, Christ University, Bengaluru

India-US Relations: Will Continue to Flourish but in a More Structured Manner


Vivek Mishra: Dr. Vivek Mishra, is Research Fellow, Indian Council for World Affairs, New Delhi.

India-US Relationship under the Biden Administration: Apprehensions and Outcomes