The vision of the Afghanistan Studies Programme at the AIS is to promote an Indian understanding of the political, socio-economic and geo-strategic environment of Afghanistan and the region. Thirty years of conflict have had a great toll on the state and social structure of Afghanistan. In the current context, most of the research and analysis is focused on the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan. There is a need to understand the country in greater depth. How have institutions evolved? Its cultural and tribal traditions and how they have contributed to the governance of the country? Afghanistan’s internal social, economic and political dynamics are complex and present interesting challenges to scholarship. Therefore, there is a need for focussed research and building of scholarship on Afghanistan.
One of the main thrust areas of the Afghanistan Studies Programme will be state-building. The other areas of focus will be geopolitics and Islamic radicalism. These are issues that will continue to have an influence on the stability or instability of Afghanistan. It has also great potential as a bridge-state that can be instrumental in fostering regional economic integration. But for this to materialise, the conflict in Afghanistan has to be brought to an end. Therefore, it is important to understand the forces and mechanisms through which conflict resolution can take place in Afghanistan.
The programme will encourage interdisciplinary research focussing on the history, sociology, contemporary politics, economics, geopolitics, security, foreign policy and also languages of Afghanistan. The activities of the programme are designed to stimulate debate on the politics, society, and economics of Afghanistan in India. It hopes to produce a pool of scholars and expertise on Afghanistan in India. The Afghanistan Studies Programme hopes to not only promote a greater understanding of Afghanistan but also inform public policy.
This UGC sanctioned programme will focus on the study of China, its internal dynamics and external relations. It will offer a Chinese language course. The Faculty is in the process of being recruited. The programme is expected to commence from the Academic Year 2012-13.
Pakistan Studies Programme:
The Pakistan Studies Programme of the Academy of International Studies was set up in 2004. The coordinator for the programme is Dr. Ajay Darshan Behera.
Pakistan is not only India’s most important neighbour and impinges heavily on India’s national consciousness and security but also is an interesting case study of political development in South Asia. Its internal social, economic and political dynamics are complex. Its attempt to create a national identity, social cohesion and uneven economic development are reflective of the problems faced by many of the Third World countries. Pakistan’s engagement with Islam and ideology, civil-military relations, its strategic ambitions and regional policies present interesting challenges to scholarship. Despite a shared history, cultural and linguistic heritage, Pakistan is also one of the most difficult security challenges for India. Pakistan is not only of interest to scholars but also policy makers. The PSP hopes to not only promote a greater understanding of Pakistan but also inform public policy. The programme encourages interdisciplinary research focussing on history, sociology, contemporary politics, trade and economics, geopolitics, security and foreign policy and also popular culture and literature of Pakistan.
The objectives of the Pakistan Studies Programme are to:
-- Promote Indian understanding of Pakistan in historical and contemporary perspectives.
-- Develop scholarship, build capacity and expertise on Pakistan.
-- Stimulate debate in public domain in India for policy making.
-- Network with similar institutions.
-- Publish regular research findings.
The Pakistan Studies Programme offers the following three optional courses in the M.Phil programme: Political Development and Foreign Policy of Pakistan; State and Civil Society in Pakistan, and Military and Politics in Pakistan. In the last few years, the PSP has organised a number of seminars, panel discussions, symposiums, roundtables, guest lectures by inviting scholars from Pakistan and abroad.
Central Asia Studies Programme:
A UGC programme on Central Asian Studies is running entitled “Central Asia and its Neighbourhoods: Past Ties and Future Relations. The present coordinator of the programme is Prof Rashmi Doraiswamy.
Bangladesh Studies Programme:
The Bangladesh Studies Programme was formally inaugurated at Jamia Millia Islamia in March 2009 by Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus, former Managing Director of Grameen Bank, Bangladesh. Professor Veena Sikri, who holds the Ford Foundation endowed Chair at Jamia Millia Islamia, heads the Bangladesh Studies Programme.