Home Contact Us
Search :
   

India - Articles

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
#4155, 29 October 2013
 

India & China: An Assessment of October 2013 Agreements

Nalanda University as a Cultural and Educational Bridge
Namrata Hasija
Senior Research Officer, IPCS
E-mail: namrata@ipcs.org
 

Among the many agreements signed between India and China during Manmohan Singh’s visit, the MoU on Nalanda University for reviving the ancient seat of Buddhist learning, raises interesting questions. Why has China agreed to become a part of the Nalanda University initiative? Will the signing of the agreement between India and
China be of any help to the idea of reviving the Nalanda University?
The idea of reviving Nalanda University has been  a part of Indian political and academic debate for a long time; the real push came when former Indian President APJ Abdul Kalam took the idea to his Singaporean counterpart in 2007.  Ever since many countries like China, Japan and South Korea came forward to support the idea. With their backing, the East Asia Summit (EAS) decided to make the leap from vision to reality. 
The MoU on Nalanda between India and China can be perceived from two perspectives. First is a pan Asian view wherein India has agreed to collaborate with other Asian countries following the true essence of Nalanda, which was a true international university in ancient times attracting students from different countries. Second would be a nationalist perspective, wherein India would portray Nalanda University as an Indian educational institution and promote the same with India as the original seat of Buddhism.
 
The second approach, if implemented, would make it difficult for India to garner financial and logistical support for building an international university from scratch. Thus, projecting the university and its history as both Indian and Asian has helped in gaining support from numerous Asian countries of the EAS summit to come together for this purpose.  The revival would benefit India in two ways - greater integration with the East Asian community on the basis of a shared culture, and creating a valuable strategic understanding in Asia Pacific and also attracting foreign investment for local development and infrastructure in the poor regions of Bihar. 
Articles 1 and 2 of the agreement support this very notion as they state that “an international institution known as Nalanda University which will be a non-state, non-profit, self governing international institution is established” and “the objective of establishing the brightest and the most dedicated students from all the countries…..to build an Asian community of learning…to impart education towards capacity building of Asian nations.”
For China the MoU serves many purposes. First, it fulfils its international projection of peaceful and positive engagement with India in accordance with it ‘good neighbourly policy’. China has shown its interest from the beginning when Ye Xiaowen, during the inauguration ceremony of the Xuan Zang memorial in 2007, said that Buddhism has played an important role in establishing communication and cultural exchange between the two countries in the past. It also serves another purpose for China in portraying to the world that China considers Buddhism as an integral part of Chinese culture and history. This is against the image that has been portrayed because of its struggle with the Dalai Lama and religious freedom being the main thrust of demanding independence from Beijing. 
However, keeping aside the political or diplomatic underpinnings of the two countries, the signing of the agreement would help the educational collaborations. As Prof. Tansen Sen, who has been associated with the project and is also part of the governing body says “it will have most impact on the development of China studies in India and South Asia studies in China. The main goal is to promote educational collaborations. It is hoped that the research and teaching at Nalanda will be of benefit to all sides involved since it will be based on partnership and collaborations.” He further adds that “the presumption that the Nalanda initiative is connected to India’s soft power projection is incorrect. The idea was initiated, fostered, and is being currently implemented as an educational project, one that not only symbolises the Nalanda idea of collaborative learning, but also one that all involved hope would contribute to the development of Bihar.” According to him, when Tagore established the Visva-Bharati he was not thinking about soft power but an educational institution without any boundaries.
The Articles 5 and 6 of the agreement states that the University’s income, assets and other properties will be exempted from direct taxes in the host country - India. Custom duties have also been exempted on the import and exports of articles for official use. Article 6 which provides privileges and immunities to its Vice Chancellor and staff and even their family members according to the agreement signed between Nalanda University and the government of India. These two clauses along with article 7 of the agreement where visas would be facilitated to all the students and faculty of the university conceptualises the idea of an international university that both the countries have agreed on.
Thus, there are two perspectives as to why India and China were interested in signing this agreement one is using Buddhism as diplomacy the other being the academic discourse of truly building an international educational institute. With the formulation of this agreement where instead of a particular country managing the university a set of renowned academicians will be managing it would help in supplying men, money and intellect for the development of this international university. 

This series is published by IPCS in collaboration with the Chennai Centre for China Studies (CCCS) 
 

Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
IPCS Columnists
Af-Pak Diary

D Suba Chandran
Across the Durand Line: Who is in Control Now? Will That Change?
Taliban Talks and the Four Horsemen: Between Peace and Apocalypse
Pakistan: Talks about Talks with the Taliban, Again
Dateline Islamabad

Salma Malik
Pakistan and TTP: Dialogue or Military Action?
The Musharraf Trial & Beyond

Dateline Kabul

Mariam Safi
Afghanistan, US and the Peace Process: A Deal with the Taliban in 2014?
Dhaka Discourse

Prof Delwar Hossain
Bangladesh: Domestic Politics and External Actors
Bangladesh Post Elections 2014: Redefining Domestic Politics?

Eagle Eye

Prof Chintamani Mahapatra
US in Asia: A 'Non-Alignment' Strategy?
Indo-US Strategic Partnership Post Khobragade: The Long Shadow
East Asia Compass

Dr Sandip Mishra
North Korean Peace Gestures and Inter-Korea Relations
Japan: Implications of Indiscriminate Assertiveness
China, Japan, Korea and the US: Region at Crossroads

Himalayan Frontier

Pramod Jaiswal
Chinese Inroads to Nepal
Constituent Assembly-II: Rifts Emerging
Nepal: The Crisis over Proportional Representation and the RPP Divide
Maritime Matters

Vijay Sakhuja
Increasing Maritime Competition: IORA, IONS, Milan and the Indian Ocean Networks
China in the Indian Ocean: Deep Sea Forays
Iran Navy: Developing Long Sea Legs

Middle Kingdom

DS Rajan
China in the Indian Ocean: Competing Priorities
China-Japan Friction: How can India Respond?
Nuke Street

Amb Sheelkant Sharma
Nuclear Security Summit 2014 and the NTI Index
Nuclear Power: An Annual Report Card

Red Affairs

Bibhu Prasad
Maoists in the Northeast: Reality and Myth-Making
Surrender of Gudsa Usendi: Ominous beginning for the Naxals?
South Asian Dialectic

PR Chari
Federalism: Centre as Coordinator and Adjudicator
Limits of Federalism

Spotlight West Asia

Amb Ranjit Gupta
Saudi Arabia-US Estrangement: Implications for the Indian Subcontinent
Syria Today: Is Regime Change the Answer?
The Arab World: Trying Times Ahead
Strategic Space

Manpreet Sethi
US, China and the South Asian Nuclear Construct
Responding to Pakistan’s Tactical Nuclear Weapons: A Strategy for India

The Strategist

Vice Admiral Vijay Shankar
Strategic Non-Nuclear Weapons: An Essential Consort to a Doctrine of No First Use
 

OTHER REGULAR contributors
Gurmeet Kanwal
Harun ur Rashid
N Manoharan
Wasbir Hussain
Rana Banerji
N Manoharan

Ruhee Neog
Teshu Singh
Aparupa Bhattacherjee
Roomana Hukil
Aparupa Bhattacherjee


 
Related Articles
Teshu Singh,
"The Positives," 30 October 2013
Col R Hariharan (Retd),
"MoU on Road and Transport Cooperation," 29 October 2013
Roomana Hukil,
"Addressing the Heat Wave over Brahmaputra River," 29 October 2013
Jayadeva Ranade,
"No Tangibles," 27 October 2013
D Suba Chandran,
"Border Defence Agreement," 27 October 2013
DS Rajan,
"MoU on Sister City Relations," 27 October 2013
Wasbir Hussain,
"MoU on the Brahmaputra River," 24 October 2013

Browse by Publications

Commentaries 
Issue Briefs 
Special Reports 
Research Papers 
Seminar Reports 
Conference Reports 

Browse by Region/Countries

East Asia 
South Asia 
Southeast Asia 
US & South Asia 
China 
Myanmar 
Afghanistan 
Iran 
Pakistan 
India 
J&K  

Browse by Issues

India & the world  
Indo-Pak 
Military 
Terrorism 
Naxalite Violence 
Nuclear 
Suicide Terrorism 
Peace & Conflict Database 
Article by same Author
China: Bo Xilai Inspires a New Party?

China: New Urbanisation Plans

Bo Xilai: China's Trial of the Century

China: Child Abduction and Trafficking

China: A Source of Cyber Attacks?

China: The Plight of Sex Workers

China: The Outbreak of Bird Flu 2013

China: Environmental Degradation and Government Response

China: Reformed Labour Camps?

China: Sweeping Hukou Reforms?

China: Surge in Sex Scandals

China’s Wukan Uprising: Is the Honeymoon Over?

China: Human Flesh Search Engines

Christianity in China: Changing Domestic Attitudes?

China’s One-Child Policy: The Debate Revives

China: Voices of Dissent

China's Wukan Uprising: First Step towards Democracy?

Chinawood: Not yet up to Hollywood?

Chinese Black Jails: 'An Alleyway in Hell'?

Widening Gender Imbalance in China

Rising Suicide Rates among Rural Women in China

Red Tourism: A Thriving Economic Industry or a Tool for Ideological Propaganda?

Li Na and China: Sports as Soft Power?

ADD TO:
Blink
Del.icio.us
Digg
Furl
Google
Simpy
Spurl
Y! MyWeb
Facebook
 
Print Bookmark Email Facebook Subscribe
Year 2014
 January  February  March  April  May  June  July  August  September
 2013  2012  2011  2010  2009  2008  2007  2006
 2005  2004  2003  2002  2001  2000  1999  1998
 1997
 
 

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS) is the premier South Asian think tank which conducts independent research on and provides an in depth analysis of conventional and non-conventional issues related to national and South Asian security including nuclear issues, disarmament, non-proliferation, weapons of mass destruction, the war on terrorism, counter terrorism , strategies security sector reforms, and armed conflict and peace processes in the region.

For those in South Asia and elsewhere, the IPCS website provides a comprehensive analysis of the happenings within India with a special focus on Jammu and Kashmir and Naxalite Violence. Our research promotes greater understanding of India's foreign policy especially India-China relations, India's relations with SAARC countries and South East Asia.

Through close interaction with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Foreign Service and the three wings of the Armed Forces - the Indian Army, Indian Navy, and Indian Air Force, - the academic community as well as the media, the IPCS has contributed considerably to the strategic discourse in India.

 
Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map | IPCS Email
B 7/3 Lower Ground Floor, Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi 110029, INDIA.
Tel: 91-11-4100 1900, 4165 2556, 4165 2557, 4165 2558, 4165 2559 Fax: (91-11) 41652560
Email:
© Copyright 2014, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies.
        Web Design by http://www.indiainternets.com