No. 1

HIMALAYAS PLUS

January-April 2023



Warm greetings from the Centre of Excellence for Himalayan Studies, Shiv Nadar Institution of Eminence, Delhi NCR! We are delighted to share with you our inaugural Newsletter.

The Himalayas while being a large  physical landscape cannot be bracketed or pigeonholed only as a geographical entity. Such a reading  tends to neglect the the social, economic and ecological dimensions that are integral to the region and interconnected with one another. Therefore, any research or study of the region needs to be holistic and be informed by this interconnected ecosystem. It is with this aim that the SNIoE inaugurated the CHS, a multi-disciplinary research centre with the aim of linking academia and policymakers in late January this year.

In her remarks at the formal inauguration, Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ananya Mukherjee highlighted the centrality of the Himalayas to socio-political interactions, cross-border trade, and crucial environmental concerns, and stressed on the need to expand research to cover HIMALAYAS Plus – the region spread across the Karakoram Ranges, Hindu Kush, and Himalayas. The Centre’s work will thus cover countries spread from Central Asia to Myanmar that collectively share not just ecosystems and cultures but also several political and economic challenges. The Centre aims to fill the absence of a single national-level institution to explore a wide variety of disciplinary and sectoral approaches to the study of this region, and will seek to answer crucial questions across the spectrum of environment, energy, security, growth and development. It will provide a platform for constructive engagement between different stakeholder groups.

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The panel discussion at the inaugural event featured Prof. Siddiq Wahid, Distinguished Professor, Department of International Relations and Governance Studies, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, SNIoE, and Mr. Claude Arpi, Author and Historian of Tibet. Both of them are also Distinguished Fellows at the CHS. The panel discussion moderated by Prof. Kaveri Gill, of the Department of International Relations and Governance Studies explored among other things, cultural, environmental and geopolitical concerns affecting the region.

The Centre will function under the aegis of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at SNIoE and Dr. Jabin T. Jacob, Associate Professor in the Department of International Relations and Governance Studies at SNIoE has been appointed as the first Director of the Centre. Dr. Anand Parappadi Krishnan joined the Centre as Fellow in February while Dr. Devendra Kumar joined us in March in the position of Associate Fellow.

EVENTS

The CHS organized its first seminar in collaboration with the Department of Sociology at SNIoE on 17 March. Dr. Mari Miyamoto, Associate Professor, Faculty of Business and Commerce, Keio University, Japan, spoke about the elimination of animal sacrifice and the development of Tsethar rituals in Bhutan.

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Our next seminar, organized in collaboration with the Department of International Relations and Governance Studies, on 3 April had Mr. Amish Raj Mulmi, journalist and author of All Roads Lead North: Nepal’s Turn to China, making a presentation based on his book.

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IN THE MEDIA

In February, CHS Director, Dr. Jabin T. Jacob, penned a piece for the Deccan Herald calling for a rethink on India’s policies at the Line of Actual Control including the question of operational control of the Indo Tibetan Border Police. He also co-authored a piece in Malayalam with Fellow, Dr. Anand P. Krishnan, on the nuts and bolts of China’s new Global Security Initiative in March. In April, in another article for the Deccan Herald, Dr. Jacob discussed the Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs’ standardization of names of places in Arunachal Pradesh, calling it part of its continuing efforts to build a legal basis for its claims on the region. He emphasized the need for a better informed citizenry on questions related to India's frontier regions. Also, in April, in a piece for The New Indian Express, the CHS Director wrote about how competitive domestic politics on questions of border management and border communities could negatively affect India’s external interests and constitutional values.


Distinguished Fellow, Mr. Claude Arpi’s monograph, India Tibet Relations 1947-1962, was published by the United Service Institution of India, New Delhi in January. In February, he authored a piece in Firstpost on the need for accuracy in assessment and analysis in narratives surrounding the Line of Actual Control and International Border between India and China. Mr. Arpi also penned a piece for Chanakya Forum later in the month, on China upgrading its railway network in the Tibetan Plateau and its implications for India given the proposed Xinjiang-Tibet railway line passing through Aksai Chin. He also spoke on the 1962 India China war at the podcast, Def-Talks by Aadi. In another piece for Firstpost in March, Mr. Arpi discussed issues surrounding the Dalai Lama’s succession and Chinese attempts to control the narrative in this regard. In an article for Rediff.com in April, he revisited the first instance of China’s renaming of places in Arunachal Pradesh in 2017.


Dr. Anand Parappadi Krishnan, Fellow at the CHS gave an interview to AsianLite.com on some of the important aspects and concerns regarding China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

FACULTY UPDATE

CHS Director, Dr. Jabin T. Jacob made a presentation on ‘Chinese Geoeconomics and Impact on India’, at the Annual China Seminar, at the 78th Staff Course, Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, Tamil Nadu in February.

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Also in February, he gave a lecture titled, ‘China’s Political Dynamics and Its Impact on India’, to the Administration & Logistics Management Course (ALMC-12), at the College of Materials Management, Jabalpur under the Indian Ministry of Defence.
In March, Distinguished Fellow, Prof. Siddiq Wahid chaired a Seminar on Uncovering the Complexity of Nomenclatures regarding Tibet by Prof. Robert Linrothe Associate Professor Emeritus of Art History and former Chair, Dept. of Art History, Northwestern University, Illinois, USA. The event was reported in ThePrint.
Later in March, Mr. Arpi, delivered the 33rd Annual Padmapani Lecture, organized by Tibet House, New Delhi, on ‘The Relations between India and Tibet from 1947 to 1962’ at the India International Centre, New Delhi.

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You can remain up to date with our publications, events, and activities either through our website, Twitter (@Himalayas_SNU), Facebook, and/or LinkedIn. We welcome any feedback as well as contributions from those working on the wider Himalayas on the four broad themes of research at CHS – Borders and Identity, Economy, Environment, and Geopolitics. Please get in touch with us at chs.shss@snu.edu.in