Message on the Occasion Of
Completion of Ten Years of Fruitful Service by
Chennai Centre for China Studies
B.S. Raghavan IAS (Retd.), Patron, C3S
Former Policy Adviser to the UN (FAO)
Today (04 April 2018) marks the completion of ten years of service by the Chennai Centre for China Studies.
The high quality research going into the impressive and timely contributions it has been making to facilitate policy formulation can be judged from the fact that it has been rated as the 48th best independent Think Tank out of 145 globally surveyed last year and 70th out of 90 top think tanks in India, Japan, China and Korea. Many Think Tanks functioning under the aegis of reputed enterprises in other countries, endowed with much better financial and manpower resources, have been rated below C3S.
The papers published, and the proceedings of the seminars conducted, by the Centre are widely noticed for their depth and insights.They have also elicited comments by the authorities and media in India and China as well as by eminent analysts on India-China relations.
Recently, the Centre had the proud privilege of receiving the Chinese Ambassador to India, his Minister Counsellor and high-ranking officials who spent considerable time at the Centre holding discussions with its members. The Ambassador’s visit has been followed up with an invitation for a delegation from us to visit China.
The Centre is also a member of the Think Tank Forum and the Think Tank Civil Societies Programme set up in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania. Smrithi Irani, a Minister of Cabinet rank in India’s Council of Ministers, interacted with the Forum during its recent meeting in New Delhi.
A vibrant adjunct of the Centre, vesting its approach to issues with far-seeing vision, out-of-the-box thinking, and innovative solutions is its special wing for Young Minds comprising students and young scholars, imparting to its creative endeavours a contemporary and futuristic flavour.
This is the only Centre of such importance situated in the deep South and as such, enjoys the unique advantage of bringing to bear on the study of India-China relations stimulating perspectives relating to maritime security, cyber security, the implications of interplay of geo-political and strategic networks with, and concerns of, countries in the Indian Ocean Rim and other out-of-the-ordinary aspects from an informed standpoint.
Acquiring such high credentials within such a short time would not have been possible but for the devoted commitment to the cause of better international relations on the part of the very eminent persons from public life who have been charting its course. They comprise former Ambassadors and Secretaries to Governments, India’s representatives in UN and on IMF and World Bank, retired high officers of Defence Forces and academicians held in great esteem in India and abroad. Their association with the Centre has enabled it to draw upon the reservoir and repertoire of knowledge, wisdom and experience that they represent.
Crowning it all is the leadership, dynamism and devotion of Commodore R. S. Vasan, the Director of the Centre. His distinguished record of service in pre-eminent positions in the Navy and Coastal Guard, and his current assignment as the Regional Director, National Maritime Foundation, have been a godsend in building up the Centre to its present stature.
The Centre has had the benefit of the untiring efforts of its research personnel, scholars and interns. The Centre has derived its impetus and credentials from their unstinted dedication to its goals.
The Centre’s achievements even with a meagre resource base have been considerable. They would have been far greater and broader in scope and reach if only it had been blessed with commensurate financial back-up, facilitating long-range planning and its emergence as a powerhouse of top grade professional and scholastic talents and expertise.
I ardently hope the Government and all the Centre’s well-wishers will pay due attention to this aspect.
Commodore R. S. Vasan, IN (Retd.)
Director and Secretary of Chennai Centre for China Studies
Today is indeed a historic day for the Chennai Centre for China Studies (C3S) as it celebrates its tenth anniversary. In the last one decade of its existence C3S has carved out a name for itself as the only South Indian based think tank that specializes in studying the multi-dimensional aspects of China which have a bearing both on internal, bilateral, regional and global impact.
It was the vision of Late Sri B Raman that led to the creation of C3S in Chennai. It was his considered opinion that most of the studies on China were Delhi-centric and there was a need to provide alternate forum for conversations from the prism of peninsular India. This unique think tank which was registered as a not-for-profit think tank on 04 April 2008 boasts of outstanding members who work voluntarily in the organization. They have brought their varied experience and expertise in national and international institutions to the table. The team has former Ambassadors, IAS officer’s par excellence, military officers, Professors both serving and retired, businessmen, bankers and other China watchers.
Our patron Sri B.S.Raghavan continues to be a guiding spirit for our activities and C3S is lucky to have many other members who are committed to the goals of C3S. It is also a moment to recollect the contributions made by the founding member late Sri D.S.Rajan who toiled hard in the formative years to give the think tank a shape and direction. Let me also record my appreciation for the outstanding contribution from the stalwarts who are no more with us. These luminaries include Late Sri R.Swaminathan, an acknowledged expert in border talks with China and Late P.N.G. Subramaniyan, former Consul General at Shanghai. I would like to also place on record my gratitude to all other members headed by C3S President Professor V. Suryanarayan who have contributed to the progress of the think tank.
The young researchers have left no stone unturned to ensure that C3S occupies a unique position in the think tanks of the world. The last ranking of global think tanks by the Think Tank Civil Societies Programme has given C3S a position of 48th Independent think tank out of 145 think tanks around the world. The think tank also has a unique programme for interns and it is a matter of pride that a total of eighteen students both from India and abroad have interned with C3S last year and have their books/monographs/occasional papers/articles published.
C3S also launched the very successful Young Minds of C3S programme in October 2016. This has provided a vibrant dynamic platform to two hundred registered youth who are interested and engaged in the study of China. C3S has also made it a point to engage with other institutions, universities and think tanks to reach out to the youth to bring about greater awareness about China related issues.
The goals set by C3S have by and large been achieved by process of seminars, conferences, talks, round table discussions and participation in activities both in India and abroad. The website was revamped last year and has been very well received globally. The unique Bamboo Shoots section has broken the traditional approach to news and views sharing with the readers.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Joint Secretary PP&R, JS East Asia and the Ministry of External Affairs for the funding support which has enabled us to expand the scope of our work. It is also time to place on record my deep gratitude to the donors and well-wishers who have made it a point to support the activities of C3S both in cash and kind. Special mention needs to be made about the munificence of Dr S.Narayan, Mr.Vijay Balaki, Ms.Deepa Karthikeyan, Mr.Don Devaprakash and Ms.Pramila for allowing us whole heartedly to function from the premises of Athena Infonomics and extending all support for our activities. Likewise, such support in the previous years was rendered by Mr.Sunil Rallan, Mr.Shyam Parande and Mr.Sushil Pandit which ensured that C3S was able to function with a roof over its head.
Last but not the least, I would like to thank all the readers and other supporters who have from time to time have pitched in with constructive suggestions on increasing the scope of our activities. We would like to build on the strong foundation laid in the last one decade and continue to contribute to better understanding of China issues that would aid in achieving peace prosperity and stability bilaterally, regionally and globally.