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Geopolitics beyond Borders

For the first time in its remembered history, multiple nations in South Asia are in direct geo-politico-strategic friction with one another, with a reality that seriously challenges the “balance” in the region. New power-brokers have entered the fray, becoming active vectors in calibrating earlier tensions — the increasing regional influence of China through its “Belt and Road Initiative” and its various investments in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Myanmar & Sri Lanka, the dynamics of South Asian investments in sub-Saharan Africa, the emergence of Iran and its role in South Asia, the establishment of the 'Taliban' state of Afghanistan — alongside the dramatis of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, the strengthening Blue Finance in the Indian Ocean, and the bellicosity of nuclear-powered nationalisms.

The LSE South Asia Centre, in collaboration with LSE IDEAS and The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) hosted the first 3 virtual Roundtables in 2020-21; in 2021-22, we are colloborating with LSE IDEAS to host the series to discuss the complexities at the heart of this scenario: the gradual but sure loss of India’s control of the geo-strategic narrative; the strengthening of relations between Nepal and China; Pakistan’s increasing intolerance of Afghanistan; the challenge of India’s “Act East” policy; and China’s sure and steady grip over the region, to name but a few.

Roundtables will invite experts of the new alongside the old, and some Roundtables will produce a Working Policy Paper.




Date/Time: Thursday | 31 March 2022 | 3.30pm UK 

Roundtable to discuss the strategic focus on South Asia in the QUAD-AUKUS alliance, in the larger geopolitical intentions of superpowers.

Speakers: Rudra Chaudhuri (@rudra_81) is Director, Carnegie India, an expert on the diplomatic history of South Asia, and security issues, and author of Forged in Crisis: India and the United States since 1947 (2013); Frédéric Grare (@fgrare) is Senior Policy Fellow, Asia Programme, at the European Council on Foreign Relations, with expertise in security issues concerning South Asia, the Indo-Pacific, and related issues; Yuka Koshino (@YukaKoshino) is Research Fellow for Security & Technology at The International Institute for Security Studies (IISS), London, and an expert on Japanese security, economic security & technology policy; Peter Watkins is Visiting Senior Fellow at LSE IDEAS, and was formerly Director General Strategy & International (2017-18) & Director General Security Policy (2014-17), Ministry of Defence, United Kingdom.

Discussant: Christopher Coker is Professor & Co-Director of LSE IDEAS (LSE's foreign policy think tank), an expert on US security issues, the author, most recently, of Why War? (2021), and member of the Faculty Advisory Group of LSE South Asia Centre.

Chair: Nilanjan Sarkar is Deputy Director, LSE South Asia Centre (@SAsiaLSE).

This event is in collaboration with LSE IDEAS.

Please click here to register free for the event; the livestream link will be sent to you on the day of the event. 




Date/Time: Thursday | 9 December 2021 | 3.30pm UK

Four months after the Taliban's complete takeover of Afghanistan, where is it all going? This Roundtable of experts will discuss this, its implications for the geo-security of the region, and what may lie ahead for Afghanistan and her South Asian neighbours. 

SpeakersC. Uday Bhaskar (@theUdayB) is Director, Society for Policy Studies, New Delhi, and one of India's leading experts on geo-security, and publishes extensively on the subject; Antonio Giustozzi (@AntonioGiustoz2) is Visiting Professor, King's College London, Fellow at RUSI, and the author of several books on the Taliban in Afghanistan including The Taliban at War: 2001-2018 (2019); Michael Kugelman (@MichaelKugelman) is Deputy Director & Senior Associate for South Asia,  Wilson Center, Washington DC, and a commentator on US strategy in South Asia; Romain Malejacq (@afghanopoly) is Assistant Professor, Radboud University, and the author of Warlord Survival: The Delusion of State Building in Afghanistan (2020); Ayesha Siddiqa (@iamthedrifter) is Research Associate, SOAS South Asia Institute, an expert on security studies in Pakistan, and author of Military Inc.: Inside Pakistan's Military Economy (2007).

Discussant: Christopher Coker is Professor & Director, LSE IDEAS (@lseideas), an expert on war, US security & terrorism, and author of Why War? (2021).   

Chair: Nilanjan Sarkar is Deputy Director, LSE South Asia Centre (@SAsiaLSE).

This event is in collaboration with LSE IDEAS

A recording of the event is available here.



KASHMIR: Frontier & Shroud 

Thursday 6 May | 3.30pm UK | 7.30pm Pakistan | 8pm India

SpeakersMyra Macdonald (@myraemacdonald) is an expert on South Asian politics and security issues on which she has published 3 books including, very recently, White as a Shroud: India, Pakistan and War on the Frontiers of Kashmir (2021); Pallavi Raghavan (@pallaviraghava1) is Assistant Professor of International Relations at Ashoka University, Sonepat, and author of Animosity at Bay: An Alternative History of the India-Pakistan Relationship, 1947-1952 (2020); and Farzana Shaikh is Associate Fellow at Chatham House, London, and an expert on Pakistan. 

ModeratorRahul Roy-Chaudhury is Senior Fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), London.

ChairNilanjan Sarkar is Deputy Director, LSE South Asia Centre

This event is in collaboration with LSE IDEAS and The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).

A recording of the event is available here




Tuesday, 16 February 4 pm GMT 11 am ET 9.30 pm India

PanelistsHusain Haqqani (@husainhaqqani) is Director for South & Central Asia, Hudson Institute, New York, and an expert on US-Pakistan relations;  Daniel Markey (@MarkeyDaniel) is Senior Research Professor in International Relations, SAIS, Johns Hopkins University, and specialises in US-India relations; Rani D. Mullen (@RaniDMullen) is Associate Professor of Government, College of William & Mary, Virginia, USA, and her expertise is on US-Afghanistan policy relations. 

ModeratorRahul Roy-Chaudhury is Senior Fellow for South Asia, The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), London.

ChairNilanjan Sarkar is Deputy Director, LSE South Asia Centre. 

A recording of the event is available here



THE DRAGON'S RING: China in South Asia 

Tuesday, 13 October | 3pm UK | 11pm China

Speakers: Filippo Boni (@FilippoBoni1) is Lecturer in Politics & International Studies, Open University, UK, and is a specialist in the politics of Chinese investments in South Asia; Li Li is Deputy Director-General & Senior Fellow, Insitute for International Relations, Tsinghua University, Beijing; Rahul Roy-Chaudhury is Senior Fellow for South Asia at The International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), London; Nilanthi Samaranayake (@nilanthis) is Director, Strategy & Policy Analysis Program, Center for Naval Analyses (CNA), Virginia, USA, and is an expert on China's maritime presence in South Asia.

Moderator: Chris Alden is Professor, International Relations, LSE, and Co-Director, LSE IDEAS.

Chair: Nilanjan Sarkar is Deputy Director, LSE South Asia Centre.

A recording of this event is available here.