Transforming South Asia: Imperatives for Action

Rajiv Bhatia, Swaran Singh, Reena Marwah

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Right from the Himalayan hermit kingdoms of Nepal and Bhutan to the island and archipelago countries of Sri Lanka and the Maldives, the sheer variety of South Asia not only in geographic terms, but also in terms of culture, language and tradition is unparalleled. A wide array of religious beliefs existing in the region alongside distinctive mind-sets, tend to differentiate the countries that make up South Asia. The divisions however, of the region among countries are not the same as the divisions among cultures/religions.

This book titled: Transforming South Asia: Imperatives for Action is the outcome of serious deliberations among well-known scholars, diplomats and policymakers at the Third Conference of the Asian Relations Conference Series organized by Indian Council of World Affairs in collaboration with Association of Asia Scholars in March 2012. Papers presented in the conference were thoroughly revised before publication and editors acknowledge with gratitude these insightful contributions.

Most contributors to this volume believe in the pertinence of regional integration amongst various South Asian nations. Specifically, the volume sheds considerable light on the issue of regionalization and co-operation as tools to achieve the much longed for transformation in South Asia. Experts do not shy away from examining issues of conflict and how border disputes have often marred the positive spirit of regionalization as also other mechanisms of SAARC in its day-to-day functioning. Therefore an effort to present the complex reality objectively is visible. Contributors also underscore India’s role in regionalization of South Asia as being far more pragmatic since it has strengthened local synergies, especially at the level of their civil societies.

Rajiv Bhatia, Swaran Singh, Reena Marwah Rajiv K. Bhatia is the Director General, Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA), New Delhi since June 2012. Earlier, as a career diplomat, he served India with distinction for over thirty-seven years. He was India’s ambassador/high commissioner in four countries – Kenya, Myanmar, Mexico and South Africa. Known for his intellectual inclinations, Ambassador Bhatia enjoys writing and speaking on a wide range of foreign policy-related issues. He has published over 100 articles on international affairs in India’s national dailies, journals and periodicals. He has also delivered lectures at the National Defence College, Foreign Service Institute, universities and other institutions in India.

Swaran Singh is Professor of International Studies and Chief Vigilance Officer at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. He is currently President of Association of Asia Scholars and General Secretary of Indian Congress of Asian & Pacific Studies. He specializes in Asian affairs, China’s foreign and security policies, multilateralism, peace and conflict resolution, India’s defence and nuclear policies, and disarmament. Prof Singh has been Visiting Professor to various Asian and European Universities and is on Editorial Board of several journals in India and abroad.

Reena Marwah (M.Phil, PhD International Business) is presently Senior Academic Consultant, Indian Council of Social Science Research. She has been teaching at Jesus and Mary College, Delhi University as Associate Professor. In addition to several years of graduate and post-graduate teaching of Macro Economics and Indian Economics, she also lectures frequently at institutions of higher learning in India and abroad. She is the recipient of the Robert McNamara fellowship of the World Bank in 1999-2000 and the Asia fellowship of the Asian Scholarship Foundation in 2002-03. Her research interests include development issues, regional and international trade, multilateralism, globalization and poverty.



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