India’s Science Diplomacy in South Asia: Opportunities and Challenges

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Pooja Raghav, Dr. SibaramBadatya, Trishna Rai, Dr. BhabaniSonowal


In all global challenges such as climate change, pandemic, nuclear proliferation etc, scientific and technological cooperation is playing a vital role in addressing these multilateral problems. Recent years have witnessed the formidable presence of science, technology and innovation in international relations. In pursuant to this, Science Diplomacy is gaining remarkable attention in international relations and solving global problems. The EIR Of orum in European Union, e-ASIA JRP in South East Asia, African Scientific Institute in Africa and the Arctic Council in the Arctic region have promoted science diplomacy among the member countries while addressing the emerging global challenges. However, these efforts of scientific diplomacy and a comprehensive multilateral mechanism is a distant reality in South Asia. Despite the incongruities, India has taken up several steps - from launching the SAARC satellite to facilitating COVID Vaccine - to promote its science diplomacy in recent years. With the increasing GDP, India’s R&D budget took a parallel upsurge from mere Rs. 5000 crore in 1995-96 to Rs. 1, 23,847.71 crore in 2018–19. However, its engagement in south asia raises more scepticism and denouncement. In this context, the present paper intended to analyse the evolution, nature and extent of science diplomacy in South Asia. Further, the paper aims to highlight India’s science diplomacy programme in South Asia given its unique political settings and geostrategic implication in shaping South Asian cooperation.

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