March 2020

Dear Friend,

As India and the rest of the world deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, we have sought to maintain a high level of programme activities and output at the Institute of Chinese Studies (ICS), despite odds. In March, we started practising social distancing norms and then work-from-home, increasingly relying on video-conferencing, including for our Annual General Body Meeting on 21 March. Our Wednesday Seminars have been held without interruption since 1969 and they are now continuing in the Webinar mode. Even while we mourn and empathise with the loss of lives and suffering across the world due to the pandemic, it is imperative that we endeavour to deliver on the core agenda of the ICS.


Two Wednesday seminars were conducted this month –  Jacob Mardell,  Mercator Institute of China Studies (MERICS),  Berlin on ‘Belt and the Road from the Ground Up’ (YouTube) (SoundCloud) and Dr. Rajiv Ranjan, Adjunct Fellow, ICS, and Executive Director, Institute of Global Studies, Centre for South Asian Studies and Associate Professor, College of Liberal Arts, Shanghai University, Shanghai on India’s Strategic Choices to Engage China’ (YouTube) (SoundCloud).  


This month we had as many as fifteen publications – six ICS Occasional Papers, seven ICS Analysis and two Research Blogs (all available on our website)

The following is the list of Occasional Papers published in March:

  1. Prof. Sabaree Mitra, Honorary Fellow, ICS and Professor, Centre for Chinese and Southeast Asian Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, on ‘India-China Cultural Interface in Contemporary China: Reinventing the Old, Identifying the New
  2. Dr. Yifei Yan, Fellow in Social Policy, London School of Economics, on ‘Governance of Government Middle Schools in Beijing and Delhi: Teacher Training, Career Advancement and Stakeholder Communication
  3. Ms. Poonam Surie, Adjunct Fellow, ICS on ‘Materialism in Chinese Society: The Historical, Cultural and Contemporary Context
  4. Ms. Ambika Viswanath and Priyanka Bhide, Co-Founders, Kubernein Initiative on ‘Combating India’s Water Crisis: Lessons from the Chinese Example
  5. Dr. Peter Beatite, Assistant Professor, Chinese University of Hong Kong and Ms. Ana Tomicic, Research Associate, University College London, London on ‘This Changes Everything? A Possible Future of China-U.S Relations after Trump
  6. Mr. Vishal Tripathi, NITI Aayog, and Mr. Ieshan V Misri, Citizen’s Foundation for Policy on ‘How History Shapes the March Towards Rule of Law: Lessons from India and China’.

Out of the seven ICS Analysis listed below, the first five emerged out of presentations made at the 3rd India Forum on China @Goa in December 2019.

  1. Dr. Richard McGregor, Senior Fellow, Lowy Institute, Sydney on ‘Xi Jinping and Chinese Power
  2. Prof. David Arase, Resident Professor, Hopkins-Nanjing Center, John Hopkins University, on ‘The US Free and Open Indo-Pacific Initiative: Maintaining Free Trade Connectivity across Asia
  3. Amb. Biren Nanda, former High Commissioner/Ambassador to Australia, Indonesia & ASEAN on ‘Asia’s Geopolitical Challenges and Future Order: China Factor
  4. Dr. Christian Wagner, Senior Fellow, German Institute for International and Security Affairs, Berlin on ‘Europe’s New Role in the Indo Pacific
  5. Amb. Anil Wadhwa, Distinguished Fellow, Vivekananda International Foundation and former Secretary (East), Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India on ‘China’s Foray into the South Pacific
  6. Ms. Anjali Gupta, Research Scholar, Delhi University on ‘China and the Global Governance of the Refugee Crisis
  7. Ms. Anu, Research Assistant, ICS on ‘Informal Meetings in Foreign Policy’.

We also had two ICS Research Blogs – Amb. Biren Nanda, former High Commissioner/Ambassador to Australia, Indonesia & ASEAN on ‘India’s Strategic Choices to Engage China’ and Ms. Bihu Chamadia, Research Intern, ICS, on ‘China and the ongoing Iran-US Conflict.  



The ICS has kept up to speed with the ongoing developments of the COVID19 pandemic, with members, fellows and faculty exploring the issue from multiple angles through contributions in various media platforms:

Amb. Shyam Saran, Member, ICS Governing Council, penned six pieces - for The Print, on the asymmetry at the heart of India’s complex engagement with the world, for Hindustan Times, on ‘Time for a G20 Summit on Coronavirus, for Business Standard, on ‘COVID-19 is a Sign of Ecological Crisis for The Indian Express, on the need for India to pursue regional cooperation through both SAARC and BIMSTEC; for The Tribune, on The World Won’t Be the Same Again, and  for The Hindu on the need for revival of Multilateralism by India.

Dr. Hemant Adlakha, Honorary Fellow, and Associate Professor, Centre for Chinese and Southeast Asian Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, wrote ‘Fang Fang: The ‘Conscience of Wuhan’ Amid Coronavirus Quarantine’ for The Diplomat.

Mr. Ravi Bhoothalingam, Honorary Fellow, penned ‘Coronavirus and the Mandate of Heaven for the Business Standard.

Dr. Mirza Zulfiqur Rahman, Visiting Research Associate, co-authored the piece ‘Handwashing in Water-stressed Countries Major Challenge in Fight Against COVID-19 for

Mr. M V Rappai, Honorary Fellow, wrote ‘China in 2020’ for Diplomatist.

Adjunct Fellow Zorawar Daulet Singh had a piece titled ‘Covid-19 Shows That Our Selective Visions of World Order Stand Exposed’ for the The Print, and one titled ‘COVID-19 Should Make Us Re-imagine the World Order’ for the Economic and Political Weekly.

Dr. Rajiv Ranjan, Adjunct Fellow, wrote for Observer Research Foundation on ‘Combating Coronavirus: Learning from China experience’. He also had piece in the Hindi daily, Prabhat Khabar.

Prof. Rama V Baru, Member, Governing Council and Professor, Centre for Social Medicine and Community Health, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi wrote ‘To Contain Coronavirus, Monitor and Communicate’ for Hindustan Times.

Adjunct Fellow, Dr. G Venkat Raman, had a piece on ‘Coronavirus Crisis Will Test India’s Will to Boost Ties with China’ in The Quint.

There were also some contributions in the media unrelated to the pandemic - Anurag Viswanath, Adjunct Fellow, on ‘Why Malaysian Politics Matters’ for Financial Express, and Amb. Shyam Saran for The Tribune on ‘The Fall into Infamy: India’s Image and Credibility are Taking a Beating, and it Does Matter’. Visiting Research Associate, Dr. Mirza Zulfiqur Rahman offered his view on Brookings India’s regional connectivity initiative, Sambandh

Faculty Updates

Dr. Hemant Adlakha, Honorary Fellow, ICS and Associate Professor, Centre for Chinese and Southeast Asian Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, gave lectures on various topics, including of contemporary issues on China-India relations at the School of International Studies, Central University of Gujarat, Gandhinagar. Dr. Adlakha was also invited to join the Admission Team to conduct Virtual Admissions webinar for the 2020-21 for Szhwarman Scholarship Master's Programme. Dr. Rajiv Ranjan, Adjunct Fellow, ICS, delivered lectures as Visiting Faculty at Department of Civics and Politics, University of Mumbai, from 1-4 March 2020. He was also a panellist on ‘Combating Coronavirus”, organised by Observer Research Foundation and Consulate of China in Mumbai, on 3 March. I delivered the special address at ‘Calcutta Dialogue’, hosted by CENERS-K and Indian Chamber of Commerce, at Kolkata on 13 March 2020 on the theme of ‘India- PR China Relations: The Way Forward’.

awards and fellowship

We are happy to announce that three scholars have been selected for the Institute of Chinese Studies-Harvard Yenching Institute (ICS-HYI) Joint Scholarship for Doctoral Research following a rigorous selection process. They are: Mr. Akshay Bhambri, Department of Political Science, University of Delhi; Mr. Pawan Amin, Centre for East Asian Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi; and Ms. Shubhda Gurung, Centre for Chinese and Southeast Asian Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. While in the past, two Fellowships have been awarded every year, we thank HYI for agreeing to take on board a third Fellow, keeping in view the excellent quality of candidates. The ICS and HYI have also agreed to continue their partnership on this joint fellowship for the next three years. We would also like to announce Mr. Ramnath Regunadhan, doctoral student, China Studies Centre, Indian Institute of Technology, Chennai, as the winner of the Mira Sinha-Bhattacharjea Award, for the best paper presented at the 12th All India Conference of China Studies in November 2019. His paper was titled ‘Intellectual Property Governance and Protection in China: A Case Study Approach’. The award has been instituted in the memory of eminent China scholar late Mira Sinha-Bhattacharjea, who was a founding member of the ICS and had served as Director of the Institute. She was also Editor, of the ICS quarterly journal, China Report.

The ICS Website, Facebook and Twitter accounts are among the several ways you can get the latest on our publications and activities. You can also subscribe to our monthly newsletter to follow our events and publications as well as browse our YouTube and SoundCloud channels.

We look forward to seeing you at more of our events..



Best Regards,
Institute of Chinese Studies





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