IPCS Annual Report 2019
IPCS   ·   27 Feb, 2020   ·   206    ·    Special Report


We know that academia is, even by those that inhabit it, described as an ivory tower. This is also true, although perhaps to a lesser degree, of the policy field, where conversations can often be disengaged from the landscape they operate in. In our interpretation of foreign policy and international security through an India-specific lens, we endeavour to bridge this gap.

As before, IPCS' work in 2019 reflected this priority by anchoring it in interdisciplinarity across its four research verticals, and in collaboration with partner organisations. IPCS undertook 12 main projects this year, with varying emphasis on research and programmatic deliverables. Effectively, while continuing to evaluate global political and security trends, we turned the spotlight back onto India and its neighbourhood – a prong that drove most of our work. 

Engaging China facilitated sustained engagement on the bilateral relationship between Indian and Chinese experts in a track II confidence-building format. To this end, IPCS hosted several Chinese delegations to formulate a composite view of how China sees its overseas initiatives, and how they are perceived in target countries. Another project that looked at the prevention, mitigation, and responses to the illicit trafficking of radioactive materials culminated in the IPCS Workshop on Smuggling and Radiation Detection, an interdisciplinary India-US track 1.5 dialogue on the subject. This initiative was the first of its kind in India. 

In 2019, IPCS also took charge as the India anchor of The Chao Track, a joint India-Pakistan track II initiative set up after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks that facilitates multi-stakeholder discussions on the bilateral relationship. The dialogue aims to arrive at realistic recommendations to the governments of India and Pakistan in alignment with current policy and political priorities, and foster truly inclusive interaction. We also launched the IPCS Alumni Series to institutionalise our engagement with past colleagues. This platform creates opportunities for an emerging generation of experts distributed across the world to amplify their work to an Indian audience, and find new opportunities for collaboration.

On the research front, we began projects such as Contested Waters, which is carrying over into 2020. An effort to produce fresh analysis on the relationship between disputed water resources and geopolitical power dynamics, it explores the possibility of shifting the primary frame of reference from state to human security. The Myanmar Project, in addition to being developed as a repository of literature on the evolving political, security, and human rights situation in Myanmar, also explores newer synergies of cooperation between India and Myanmar. 

Through the period of heightened tension between India and Pakistan in early 2019, and the rest of year, the Nuclear Security Programme and the Centre for Internal and Regional Security jointly examined if, and how, these events impact South Asian stability and nuclear deterrence dynamics. The publications within this focus covered the nuclear, military, diplomatic, and larger counterinsurgency and strategy implications for India. 

Of course, numbers are not always an accurate reflection of quality. But, for a small team taking on a range of diverse responsibilities, quantity is a useful demonstrator of how best we are able to leverage the resources available to us to reach our research, engagement, and outreach goals. With nearly 400 by-lines, 12 projects, over 100 publications, 14 interns, 21 round-tables and panel discussions, two external fellowship appointments, and over 30 national and international speaking assignments, IPCS had a very full – and fulfilling – year. 

I invite you to explore these numbers, and our work, in more detail in the following pages of the 2019 IPCS Annual Report, and welcome your feedback at ruhee.neog@ipcs.org. 

As always, thank you very much for your support.

Ruhee Neog
Director, IPCS

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