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Young Minds of C3S Event Report: Southern Voices- Building Perspectives on Foreign Policy

C3S Report No: 0015/2017

The following is an event report of a workshop which took place on September 1 2017.

“Southern Voices- Building Perspectives on Foreign Policy” was the theme of the event that was jointly organized by the Young Minds of C3s – The Youth Forum of Chennai Centre for China Studies, and the Department of Journalism of M.O.P Vaishnav College for Women (Autonomous), Chennai. It took place on September 1 2017 at M.O.P Vaishnav College for Women.

The event started with Sundeep Kumar, Research Officer of C3S, giving a welcome address, where he pointed out that the Indian diaspora from the southern Indian states had a significant stake in the foreign policy decisions that were taken by the government and that there must be more attention paid to this section of the community.

The workshop was steered by Swagata Saha, who is former Junior Fellow of Observer Research Foundation associated with their China Regional Studies initiative. At ORF, she has been the coordinator of China Weekly monitor and involved in the collaborative project, “Understanding China” with Yunnan Academy of Social Sciences. The project had two significant parts: a media analysis and real time survey.

She began her presentation on Chinese media and the nature of the press. During the course of her presentation, she pointed out the following: The State-Owned Chinese media vs. the free press of India and how this impacts the press freedom index of the two countries. She then spoke of the different opportunities that social media afforded the new generation of journalists and how this has spawned the entertainment media and the effect that this had on media discourse in general.

The question of how to move beyond Delhi-Beijing centric perspectives is of critical importance to think tanks that are form different parts of the country. It is in this context, that parallel diplomacy could lead to regional linkages that would help us to move beyond traditional diplomacy.  A good example of this is sister cities. Fostering of people to people ties will also aid in this endeavor.

She then showed a video of an Indian news report on China which had reportedly included Arunachal Pradesh on its map and invited the students to pitch in and give their opinions on the issue. An interactive session ensued.

Mr. Ramananda Sengupta, Senior Associate Editor, The New Indian Express, Chennai, then wrapped up the proceedings by talking about the numerous Chinese characters and how these have a visual tradition, as opposed to the oral tradition of India. This gives room to the Chinese to have ambiguity in their writings. Also, the fact that China had long-term vision because they have Presidents who serve in blocks of 10 years as opposed to India, gave them a certain amount of stability that was not possible in India.

The members of C3S were impressed by the level of coherence and the manner of analysis that the students were able to show and do look forward to more events like this in the future.

Shruthi Rajkumar, member of the Young Minds of C3S gave the vote of thanks.

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