No. 4

HIMALAYAS PLUS

September-October 2023



Dear Friends,

Warm greetings from the Centre of Excellence for Himalayan Studies (CHS), Shiv Nadar Institution of Eminence, Delhi NCR! We are happy to present the 4th edition of our newsletter.

PUBLICATIONS

CHS publications are the mainstay of our centre’s research agenda, and our output will be of interest to scholars, policymakers and general public. We have three types of publications – Commentary, Issue Brief, and Occasional Paper – that cater to diverse readership and their reading choices.

Two new Commentaries delved into Communist Party of China General Secretary, Xi Jinping’s short visit to Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, in late August and analyzed his speech to the party cadres:

Dr. Anand P. Krishnan, Fellow, CHS, underscored how the ethnic unity invoked by the Party-state is built through flattening of cultural differences while  Dr. Devendra Kumar, Associate Fellow, CHS, assessed the emphasis on grassroots party building, ideological-educational campaigns, and the extension of activities/learnings from Xinjiang to Tibet.

...

We also had an Occasional Paper authored by Dr. Kumar, where he mapped the changes and continuities in Tibet Autonomous Region’s leadership since 2012 through an in-depth examination of cadre management and appointments of officials.

...

In addition, our researchers also publish on other platforms and there is a selection of these writings too that you will find on the CHS website.

We welcome writings/publications from those working on the Himalayas around the four broad themes of research at CHS – Borders and Identities, Economy, Environment, and Geopolitics. However, these are not exclusive and we are open to suggestions and to supporting interesting ideas. Those interested may get in touch with us on our email chs.shss@snu.edu.in For more, see here.

EVENTS

On 13 September, we organized a Seminar titled ‘Tibet Beyond Foreign Policy’ jointly with India Tibet Coordination Office, New Delhi and Tibet Museum, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh. Our Distinguished Fellow, Mr. Claude Arpi made a presentation on Political Developments in Tibet and Dr. Lobsang Yangtso, Senior Researcher, International Tibet Network, Dharamshala spoke on the rivers in Tibet and their significance for India. Associate Fellow, Dr. Devendra Kumar served as the discussant. Alongside the Seminar, there was also a Photo Exhibition by the Tibet Museum.

...

CHS was the university partner at the Global Conference on New Sinology organized by the Organizational for Research on China and Asia, on 25-26 September in Delhi. Mr. Arpi spoke on the place of Tibet and Buddhism in the India-China relationship at a special session of the conference. 

...

IN THE MEDIA

Our Director, Dr. Jabin T. Jacob penned two pieces for the Deccan Herald. In the first one, he argued that it was a combination of domestic and external interests that guided Xi Jinping’s decision to not attend the G20 Summit in Delhi. His other piece on the completion of 10 years of China’s Belt and Road Initiative also noted India’s inability to take leadership to counter China in both the ideational and operational realms.

In a piece for Newslaundry, Dr. Jacob also parses Chinese media commentary on the G20 Summit in Delhi, looking at Beijing’s response to India’s role as host, the former’s identity as leader of Global South, and its overall external disposition.

Dr. Jacob also partnered with CHS researchers in two publications – in a co-authored piece with Dr. Devendra Kumar for the Hindustan Times, they looked into the organizational shakeup within the Communist Party of China in the past few months, and how they reaffirmed Xi Jinping’s tight control over the country’s polity. Another joint essay for the Asan Forum by Dr. Jacob and Dr. Anand P. Krishnan looked at  India’s motivations for joining the Russia-India-China (RIC) trilateral arrangement, its role within this triangle, and why it persists with it despite emerging contradictions.

Our Distinguished Fellow, Mr. Claude Arpi authored two pieces for Firstpost – the first one in September revisited the India-China conflict in 1962 and how India’s preparedness at the border has evolved over time. In the second piece in October, he looked at the India-China border relations taking into account the rise of global hostilities and possible instability within Chinese People's Liberation Army. For the same publication, he also reviewed the book, Echoes from Forgotten Mountains: Tibet in War and Peace, by Jamyang Norbu.

Mr. Arpi also authored two pieces for the Deccan Chronicle – on the problems faced by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army in the backdrop of the continuing standoff at the Line of Actual Control; and on the need to re-evaluate India’s governing philosophy vis-a-vis its border areas. He wrote a piece for Rediff, remembering the soldiers from Indian Army’s Rajput Regiment who fought in the Battle of Namkha Chu during the India-China conflict of 1962. Mr. Arpi also appeared on the programme ‘Talking Point’ at StratNews, where he discussed his recent trip to the LAC in Arunachal Pradesh.

Dr. Jacob’s comments to the media appeared in different platforms – on Xi Jinping’s absence at the G20 Summit in Delhi in The New York Times; on India’s efforts to reduce the gap in infrastructure along the disputed boundary with China in International Business Times; and on the 3rd Belt and Road Initiative Forum in Beijing in The Print.

CHS Fellow, Dr. Anand P. Krishnan also wrote for WIONews on China’s messaging to India and the world through Xi Jinping’s no show at the G20 Summit.

FACULTY UPDATE

Mr. Arpi gave a talk, ‘Indo-Tibet Boundary: Historical Perspective, Sino-India Dispute and Future Prospects’, on 29 September at the Tibet Museum in Dharamshala. He was also a panelist at a Seminar on Historical Perspective of Ladakh - Crossroads of Civilisations, organized by 14 Corps of the Indian Army, at Leh on 5 October. 

...

On 17 October, Mr. Arpi delivered an online lecture on ‘India-Tibet-China Boundary Issues: Historical Legacies and Current Prospects’ at the Manohar Parikkar Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses, Delhi, as part of their Defence and Security Module for Commandants of the Border Security Force. He also made a presentation on Belgian-French explorer and Buddhist Alexandra David-Neel at the Department of French, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi on 30 October.

CHS Non-Resident Senior Fellow, Prof. Kaveri Gill chaired a panel of student presentations at the Conference on ‘Challenging Emotions in Today’s World: Mechanism, Challenges and Solutions’, organized by Tibet House, New Delhi, at Delhi on 16 September. Prof. Gill also assumed a new role as Chair of Tibet House’s Publication Advisory Board.

On 20 September, Dr. Anand P. Krishnan, Fellow, CHS was the moderator of an online panel discussion by the Institute of Chinese Studies, Delhi on ‘Deciphering the Global Development Initiative: China’s New Pathway for Global South’.

CHS Associate Fellow, Dr. Devendra Kumar presented a paper on ‘Mining in Tibet: Environmental, Political and Economic Aspects’, at the Fifth Indian Research Scholars’ Conference on Tibetan Studies organized by the Tibet Policy Institute, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, on 6 October. 

...

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