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LSE India Summit 2016

The South Asia Centre is proud to collaborate with Difficult Dialogues to host the ‘LSE India Summit 2016’ in Goa from 28th - 30th of January 2016. The three day event will include four panel discussions, alongside an exhibition of rare documents from the archives of the Reserve Bank of India, and two specially curated talks, one by the Serbian political thinker Srdja Popovic on non-violent forms of protest, and the other by award-winning novelist Amitav Ghosh on trading and traveling by Indian merchants to China in the 19th century.  

Those interested in attending should register on the Difficult Dialogues website here. Others can follow the discussions live on Twitter.

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1. Global Finance

This panel considers the complex dynamics of financial systems, both globally and regionally. Historically, the global financial system derives from the structures and institutions that originated in Bretton Woodsin the post-World War II world, with the US at the helm. This system has been dominant for over 60 years now, but what is happening to it today? Challenges both from within and outside have impacted on its hegemony: outside, the new global order with a powerful China, and BRICS have directly impacted the singular dominance of the old order; within, the 2008 financial crisis has burst the myth that the market alone is able to take care of everything.

Moderator: Nasser Munjee

Panelists: Erik Berglof, James Crabtree, Sam Pitroda, Nicholas Stern

Nasser Munjee, an LSE alumnus, is Chairman of DCB Bank. Erik Berglof is Director, Institute of Global Affairs and Professor in Practice in Economics at LSE. Sam Pitroda  is a telecom inventor, entrepreneur, development thinker and policy maker. Nicholas Stern is IG Patel Chair Professor in Economics and Government at LSE.

2. Civil Society

Economic growth and an aspirational middle class, alongside a hyper-proliferation of preferential digital interconnectivity has been the hallmark of India’s modernity over the last two decades, creating harshly uneven and callous forms of development and appropriation. Civil society provides the most effective platform for broad-based action and redressal of grievances in India. Does civil society, then, render a unique dynamism to Indian democracy? In a country marked by poverty and corruption, how and where do individuals find strength and courage to ‘take on the system’, to speak for the rights and dignity of the maginalised?

Moderator: Craig Calhoun

Panelists: Mukulika Banerjee, Shubhranshu Choudhary, Vidhya Das, Meera Devi Jatav, Priyanka Kotamraju, Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Yogendra Yadav

Craig Calhoun is Director of the LSE. Mukulika Banerjee is Director, South Asia Centre and Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at LSE. Shubhranshu Choudhary has pioneered the use of mobile phones as a media platform, and is the creator of CGNet SwaraVidhya Das is a researcher, journalist and Joint Director of AGRAGAMEE, a grassroots civil society action group in Rayagada, Orissa. Meera Devi Jatav is an activist, journalist and founding member of the Women, Media and News Trust which own the rural weekly newspaper Khabar Lahariya.  Priyanka Kotamraju is a journalist with Khabar Lahariya. Pratap Bhanu Mehta is a political scientist and President & Chief Executive of the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi. Yogendra Yadav is Professor at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi and now a founder-member and ideologue for the Swaraj Abhiyan, and the Jai Kisan Andolan. 

3. India and West Asia

West Asia has a distinctive place in India’s foreign policy & external relations. With so many external players and major power stakeholders interacting with the region, including the US, China and Russia, India has to calibrate its own policies in an objective, equitable and sustainable manner. The perennial dilemma between prioritising realpolitik interests without abandoning abiding values poses a particularly distinctive challenge. This panel will consider politico-strategic, economic (especially trade and oil), and security-military issues, and discuss continuities and departures in India’s foreign policy in West Asia in the current context.

Moderator: C Uday Bhaskar

Panelists: Talmiz Ahmad, B Toby Dodge, Nicolas Blarel, Darryl Li, Siddharth Varadarajan

Talmiz Ahmad, a retired diplomat, is currently Visiting Distinguished Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation in Delhi, and an energy consultant in Dubai. B Toby Dodge  is Director of the Middle East Centre, and Professor in International Relations at LSE. Nicolas Blarel is Assistant Professor of International Relations at the Institute of Political Science, Leiden University in The Netherlands. Darryl Li holds a PhDin Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University, and is Associate Research Scholar in Law and Robina Visiting Human Rights Fellow at Yale Law School. Siddharth Varadarajan, an LSE alumnus, is a journalist and a founding editor of The Wire.

4. Infrastructures

The discussion will comprise two broad themes: physical Infrastructure & human capital. Panelists will focus on where India currently stands in addressing these challenges, regulatory frameworks and plans for the foreseeable future. Physical infrastructure will include physical and digital connectivity – with a specific focus on isolated and remote habitations, rail infrastructure, and new initiatives on ‘smart cities’ and urban infrastructure. The panel will also debate areas of most concern for the development of India’s human capital – with an emphasis on primary and higher education, and the new focus on skilling. Both government and private initiatives, governance and regulatory challenges as well as the role of new technologies mediating the supply and demand for education will be critically considered.

Moderator: Devesh Kapur

Panelists: Rukmini Banerji, Lisa Bjorkman, Partha Mukhopadhyay, Adam Roberts

Devesh Kapur is Director of the Centre for the Advanced Study of India at the University of Pennsylvania, and Madan Lal Sobti Chair Professor for the Study of Contemporary India. Lisa Bjorkman is Assistant Professor of Urban Affairs at the University of Louisville, and Research Scholar at the University of Göttingen’s Transregional Research Network (CETREN). Rukmini Banerji is CEO of PRATHAM, a learning organisation created to improve the quality of education in India, since 1996. Partha Mukhopadhyay is Senior Fellow at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi. Adam Roberts, an LSE alumnus, has been at The Economist since 1998, as a correspondent in Johannesburg, Delhi and now Paris, and as an editor and correspondent in London.