South Asia Summit 2018

The South Asia Centre hosted its first South Asia Summit at LSE on 10 March 2018. This summit focused on debating topics of pan-South Asian significance.


Panel 1: Is China South Asia's Principal Ally?

In the last few years, China has increased its geo-political influence in South Asia through its systematic investments in infrastructure and trade agreements in the region. From the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the proposed project of a Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor (BCIM) to the 99-year lease of Sri Lanka's port of Hambantota, China has marked its presence significantly. This panel explores what China's expanding role in South Asia means for the region. 

Moderator: Dr Rahul Roy-Chaudhury (IISS, London)

Panelists: Dr Filippo Boni (on Pakistan), Dr Luke Heslop (on Maldives), Dr Yuka Kobayashi (on China), Mr Siddharth Varadarajan (on India) and Dr Ganeshan Wignaraja (on Sri Lanka) 


Listen to the podcast of 'Is China South Asia's Principal Ally' here.



Filippo Boni is Teaching Fellow, Department of Political Science and International Studies, University of Birmingham.


Rahul Roy-Chaudhury is Senior Fellow for South Asia at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.


Luke Heslop is Fellow at the Department of Anthropology, LSE. 



Yuka Kobayashi is Lecturer in China and International Politics, SOAS.



Siddharth Varadarajan is Editor of the digital news portal The



Ganeshan Wignaraja is  Chair of the Global Economy Programme at Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies (LKI).

Panel 2: Who are the Middle Class in South Asia?

The International Comparison Programme Survey (2011) which redefined Purchasing Power Parity has dramatically changed the definition of the 'middle class'. Consequently, the particular context of South Asia ― namely, high GDP growth with high levels of inequality ― identifies an elusive middle class by either exaggerating or diminishing its size, nature or effectiveness. This panel explores the idea of, and the realities behind, the middle class in South Asia in this framework. 

Moderator: Dr Lotte Hoek (on Bangladesh)

Panelists: Professor  David Gellner (on Nepal), Dr Ammara Maqsood (on Pakistan), Mr Edward McBride (on India), and Ms Snigdha Poonam (on India)


Listen to the podcast of 'Who are the Middle Class in South Asia?' here.



David Gellner is Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Oxford.



Lotte Hoek is Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Edinburgh.



Ammara Maqsood is Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester.



Edward McBride is Asia Editor at the weekly magazine, The Economist.



Snigdha Poonam is journalist at the newspaper, The Hindustan Times and is author of Dreamers: How Young Indians are Changing the World (2018).



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Banner image credit: photo by Sid Verma on Unsplash.