No. 5

HIMALAYAS PLUS

November - December 2023



Dear Friends,

Warm greetings from the Centre of Excellence for Himalayan Studies (CHS), Shiv Nadar Institution of Eminence, Delhi NCR! We wish everyone a happy, productive and fulfilling 2024. Here is the 5th edition of our newsletter.

EVENTS

CHS partnered with the Institute of Chinese Studies, Delhi in two of the latter’s flagship events.

The 16th All India Conference of China Studies, was held at the University of Hyderabad from 16-18 November, with the Council of Social Development in the city being another partner. 

CHS organized a Special Panel on ‘Surveillance and Control: How the Chinese Party-State Deploys Science & Technology in Tibet and Xinjiang’, at the conference, comprising – Dr. Apa Lhamo (Research Fellow at the Centre for China Analysis and Strategy, New Delhi) on ‘China’s Social Stability and Security Dilemma in Tibet: State Securitization through Surveillance and Technology’; Dr. Devendra Kumar (Associate Fellow, CHS) on ‘Chinese State’s Deployment of Technology for Security Responses in Tibet: A Study of Prefecture Level Budgets for Internal Security since 2008’; Dr. Ayjaz Ahmad Wani (Fellow, Strategic Studies Programme, Observer Research Foundation, Mumbai) on ‘Family Planning Policies and Uyghur Women in Xinjiang in the “New Era”’; and Dr. Anand P. Krishnan (Fellow, CHS) on ‘Another Layer in a Securitized Ecosystem: Mapping the Zero-Covid Policy in Xinjiang’. Dr. Jabin T. Jacob, Director, CHS, was the Chair/Moderator of the session.

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The 6th India Forum on China was held in Mumbai from 4-6 December, with the theme  BRI Transformed? China’s New Global Initiatives on ‘Development’, ‘Security’ and ‘Civilization’. CHS Fellow, Dr. Anand P. Krishnan made a presentation on Private Military Contractors and China’s Global Security Initiative, while CHS Director, Dr. Jabin T. Jacob chaired a session on China’s Global Security Initiative. SHSS Dean, Prof. Rajat Kathuria was also chaired a session on Beijing’s Global Development Initiative.

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PUBLICATIONS

In a Commentary, Dr. Anand P. Krishnan analyzed Xi Jinping's obsession with the virtues of hard labour, for Uyghurs and how some of its inspiration is from the era of Mao Zedong.

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Our researchers also publish on other platforms and you can find a selection of these writings on the CHS website.

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

IN THE MEDIA

In a piece for the Deccan Herald, CHS Director, Dr. Jabin T. Jacob argued for having domestic consensus and accountability in India’s foreign policy establishment vis-à-vis China. Dr. Jacob’s comments appeared in WIONews on countries opting out of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, and in Newsweek on China building a new highway near the boundary in Ladakh region respectively.

Our Distinguished Fellow, Mr. Claude Arpi authored three pieces for Firstpost – the first of these analyzed the rise in infrastructural development on river Brahmaputra and its implications downstream in Arunachal Pradesh. In another piece, he discussed China’s new White Paper on the renaming of Tibet as Xizang, and how these measures are gradually erasing Tibetan identity. In the third piece, he delved into the unilateral decision by India to close its mission in Lhasa in December 1962. He also wrote a piece for Deccan Chronicle on the renaming of Tibet as Xizang by China and the implications for India of this move. 

Our Non-Resident Senior Fellow, Prof. Kaveri Gill authored a piece in The Week on the need for building organic trans-Himalayan links between Tibet and Sikkim and Arunachal, keeping the Dalai Lama as well as Buddhism to strengthen India’s soft power.

Associate Fellow, Dr. Devendra Kumar had an opinion piece in Deccan Herald, on the domestic insurgency in Myanmar and China’s significant leverage in the backdrop of Western sanctions on the country.

FACULTY UPDATE

CHS Director, Dr. Jabin T. Jacob delivered the keynote address on ‘India and Türkiye in the 21st Century: The Search for Great Power Status’, at the International Conference, At The Crossroads: Türkiye-India Relations, at Yildiz Teknik University, Davutpasa Campus Istanbul, Türkiye, on 19 December. He also made a presentation titled, ‘A China-sized Gap in India-Turkey Relations’, as a panelist at the same conference. 

Faculty from SNU’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences were also represented at this conference. Dr. Diviani Chaudhuri from the Department of English made a presentation titled, ‘A New Nostalgia for Mythologised Pasts: Popular Culture and Usable Pasts in Türkiye and India’ while Dr. Hemanth Kadambi of the Department of History and Archaeology offered his thoughts on the archaeological constructions of histories in India and Türkiye and their public responses.

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Dr. Jacob was part of an online discussion organized by the Asia Society Policy Institute and India International Centre, New Delhi, on ‘A Decade of China’s Peripheral Diplomacy’. He also spoke on ‘China’s Evolving Grey Zone Strategy and Its Manifestation on the Northern Borders,  at the China Seminar - 2023, organized by the Indian Army’s Eastern Command, at Kolkata, on 1 December.

Mr. Arpi gave an online talk on ‘India-China Boundary Issues: Historical Legacies, Current Prospects’, organized by the Vivekananda Chair, Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam on 24 November. 

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Mr. Arpi gave another online talk on ‘Changing Names, Borders, Stakes and More…’ as part of the Tibet Awareness Talk series of Tibet Museum, Dharamshala, on 22 December. He also spoke, in virtual mode, on ‘The Sino-Indian Boundary - A Historical Background with Emphasis on the Ladakh Sector’ organized by the Foundation of Non-Violent Alternatives, New Delhi. The first part of the talk can be viewed here. Mr. Arpi was a panelist on ‘The Lahore Durbar and Its Gift of the North West Frontier, Kashmir, Baltistan and Ladakh to India’, at the Military Litfest in Chandigarh on 3 December. He also delivered two talks at the Manohar Parrikar Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses - on ‘Tibet and India-China Relations: History and Present’, and on ‘Tibet-China Boundary Issues-Historical Legacies and Current Prospects’ to the officers of the Border Security Force.

Our Non-Resident Senior Fellow, Prof. Kaveri Gill chaired a panel on ‘The Concept of Time in Quantum Theory and Arya Nagarjuna’s Philosophy’, in a Conference on Time, Subtle, and Gross Matter, and Ontological Reality in New Delhi on 25 November. An edited volume, Quantum Physics, Brain Function in Modern Science and Buddhist Philosophy, published by the Tibet House, New Delhi was released at the conference.

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Prof. Gill was also a special invitee to a closed door event titled ‘Panchen Lama Awareness Initiative’, in New Delhi, organized by Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, Bylakuppe, on 5 December.

CHS Associate Fellow, Dr. Devendra Kumar presented a paper on ‘Administrative, Economic, and Social Aspects of National Park System in China: The State-Community Dynamics’, at an international conference on Studying Things Chinese: Challenges and Opportunities, organized by the Chinese Studies Association of Australia at the University of Sydney on 9 December.

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Dr. Kumar also gave a talk on China’s Tibet Policy during Xi Jinping Era: Key Trends, at the Australia Strategic Policy Institute, Canberra, Australia, on 11 December.

You can remain up to date with our publications, events and activities through either through our website, Twitter (@Himalayas_SNU), and/or Facebook. We welcome your valuable feedback on our work and look forward to your continued support to all our activities in the coming days.