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India Speak: The CPR Podcast
41 minutes | May 12, 2022
Episode 29: Understanding the Relationship Between India's Democracy and the Civil Services
In the final episode of CPR's special series as part of Azaadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav on the Indian Civil Services (ICS), our host, Yamini Aiyar (President and Chief Executive, CPR) speaks with Dr KP Krishnan (Honorary Research Professor, CPR and Former Civil Servant) about the relationship between Indian democracy and the civil services and the changing dynamics between the politician and the civil servant. Aiyar and Krishnan discuss the politicisation of the bureaucracy and how it can be made more accountable. They explore the deepening of democracy and the federal contestation between the Centre and the states. Finally, they discuss how the Centre engages and communicates with the states and districts, and what this means for the fundamental structure of the civil services.
31 minutes | May 5, 2022
Episode 28: Understanding the Impact of Economic Transitions on Indian Civil Services Reform
In the third episode of CPR's special series as part of Azaadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav on the Indian Civil Services (ICS), our host, Yamini Aiyar (President and Chief Executive, CPR) is joined by Dr KP Krishnan (Honorary Research Professor, CPR and Former Civil Servant) to discuss the ailing framework of India's steel frame and the implications of economic transitions on the direction of ICS reforms. Aiyar and Krishnan discuss the frame of reference within which the discourse of reform has taken place and the direction that reforms ought to take, the changing role of the state and the nature of the skills required to address this. They also reflect on domain expertise in the civil services, the differences between general administrative governance skills and more substantial subject expertise and the public interest element of the civil services.
56 minutes | Apr 28, 2022
Episode 27: Identifying the Key Shifts in the Design of the Indian Civil Services
In the second episode of CPR's special series as part of Azaadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav on the Indian Civil Services (ICS), our host, Yamini Aiyar (President and Chief Executive, CPR) is joined by Dr KP Krishnan (Honorary Research Professor, CPR and Former Civil Servant) to discuss the shifts in the design of the ICS, whether explicitly through policy changes or implicitly, in adapting to the complex social and political challenges of the country. Aiyar and Krishnan discuss the impact and significance of the changes to the ICS. They discuss the policy of age limits, reservation, promotions, recruitment sizes, cadre allocation and the structural changes that were brought about by the 73rd and 74th Amendments. They also discuss the growing trend to break the IAS monopoly by introducing other parts of the All India Services in response to the growing vacancies in the central cadre.
62 minutes | Apr 26, 2022
Episode 26: Decoding the Sri Lanka Economic Crisis
In a special episode of India Speak: The CPR Podcast, Patha Mukhopadhyay (Senior Fellow, CPR) is joined by Rohan Samarajiva (Chair, LIRNEasia) to discuss the ongoing Sri Lankan economic crisis. Samarajiva sheds light on the current situation and the factors that led to it, shedding light on whether the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict became the last straws in contributing to this crisis. They also discuss the inherent strengths of the Sri Lankan economy and polity and whether these strengths can potentially be leveraged to address the situation. Finally, they discuss the role India has played thus far and what it can potentially do to help resolve the economic crisis.
55 minutes | Apr 21, 2022
Episode 25: Understanding the Evolution and Design of the Indian Civil Services
In a special series of India Speak: The CPR Podcast as part of Azadi ka Amrit Mohtasav, Yamini Aiyar (President and Chief Executive, CPR) is joined by Dr KP Krishnan (Honorary Research Professor, CPR and Former Civil Servant) to discuss the structure of Indian Civil Services (ICS) and its evolution since its inception as a replacement of the Imperial Civil Service, founded by the British empire in the period between 1858-1947. In this episode, Aiyar and Krishnan discuss the structure of the ICS as articulated in the Indian Constitution, the inheritance of the colonial structure from the British and the evolution of its design to support a modern nation. They unpack key design features of the ICS including its all India character, dual control, distinction from the state cadres, political neutrality and more. They also address the federal dynamics of India, the balancing act between accountability and allocation of the state and central governments and the frustrations of the generalist civil servants as they respond to the complexities of 21st-century policymaking.
39 minutes | Apr 18, 2022
Episode 24: Decoding the Latest IPCC Report on Mitigation of Climate Change
The evidence from the recently released report by the Working Group III of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a clear wake-up call for humanity. In this episode of India Speak: The CPR Podcast, Dr Navroz Dubash, Professor, CPR and Coordinating Lead Author for Chapter 13 ('National and sub-national policies and institutions') & Co-author of the Summary of Policymakers speaks to Dr Shonali Pachauri, Senior Research Scholar, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and Lead Author for Chapter 2 ('Emissions trends and drivers') to understand this report and what it means for the world. Dubash and Pachauri unpack the drafting and approval process of the IPCC Working Group III and delve into the chapters to help us understand what the report signifies. They shed light on the concept of equity and differentiated responsibility of countries, particularly those that are starting at a lower level of development. They also discuss the scope of the recommendations, their hopes from the report and the need to take urgent action to address the climate crisis.
42 minutes | Apr 13, 2022
Episode23: Understanding the Chinese View of India and the Border Crisis
In this episode of India Speak:The CPR Podcast, our host Sushant Singh, Senior Fellow, CPR is joined by Hu Shisheng, Senior Research Fellow and Director, Institute for South Asian Studies, China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR) to understand the Chinese view of India and the Indo-China border crisis. Sharing takeaways from his paper, Shisheng unpacks the drivers behind India's 'tough' policy on China and the perceived shifts in Indian foreign policy. With the border crisis going on for over 23 months, Singh and Shisheng discuss the way forward to resolve this crisis and how China seeks to balance India's concerns in order to begin post-COVID economic relations. Following Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi's visit to South Asia, they also discuss the reasons for this visit, whether it was successful for the Chinese and the regional issues that limit Sino-India ties. Finally, Singh and Shisheng analyse the US factor in these ties and its future if India continues to be a part of the QUAD. Link to the paper, The Behavioural Logic Behind India's Tough Foreign Policy Toward China by Hu Shisheng: http://www.cicir.ac.cn/UpFiles/file/20201103/6373999766705249491072987.pdf
56 minutes | Apr 6, 2022
Episode 22: Unpacking the Chinese Perspective of Sino-India Ties
In this episode of CPR's series on China-India relations, our host Sushant Singh (Senior Fellow, CPR) is joined by Col. Zhou Bo (Retired Senior Colonel, Chinese People's Liberation Army and Senior Fellow, Center for International Security and Strategy, Tsinghua University) to share the Chinese perspective of Sino-India ties. Singh and Bo discuss the primary motivations of Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi's recent visit to India, the statements he made in Pakistan and India's apprehension of China-Pakistan relations and a possible two-front security threat. They also unpack the border conflict at Aksai Chin, the drivers behind the many crises emerging from the region and contentions over the Line of Actual Control (LAC). Bo sheds light on China's concerns over India, the role of the US, the future course of relations between the two neighbours and how a de-escalation at the border could be achieved.
47 minutes | Mar 31, 2022
Episode 21: Decoding China-Nepal Ties and Lessons for India
In the latest episode as part of the special series on India-China relations for India Speak: The CPR Podcast, our host, Sushant Singh (Senior Fellow, CPR) is joined by Kanak Mani Dixit (Nepali Publisher, Editor and Writer) to understand India-China ties through China's relationship with Nepal. In this episode, Singh and Dixit discuss Nepal's current relations with China after the recent visit by Chinese Foreign Minister and State Councillor, Wang Yi. They uncover the main drivers of this relationship, how it contrasts with Nepal-India ties and the Nepalese view of the China-India border crisis. Dixit sheds light on the Chinese contentions over the Nepal-US Millennium Challenge Corporation project, his critique of the Nepalese political and bureaucratic class and their 'courting' of the Chinese as a counterweight to India. Finally, they compare the foreign policies of South Asian countries and discuss why the region has failed to take off, particularly with the failure of experiments like SAARC. Find Kanan Mani Dixit's article in the Nepal Times as mentioned in the episode here, https://www.nepalitimes.com/banner/fixing-the-broken-parts-in-nepal-china-ties/
43 minutes | Mar 21, 2022
Episode 20: Decoding the Historical and Political Aspects of India-China Relations
In the sixth episode of the special series on India-China ties as part of India Speak: The CPR podcast, our host, Sushant Singh (Senior Fellow, CPR) is joined by Arne Westad, a renowned scholar of Modern, International & Global History and Elihu Professor of History, Yale University to discuss the historical and political aspects of the relationship between the two neighbours. Westad unpacks whether the relationship between the United States (US) and China can be called the new Cold War and whether such a comparison is accurate. Singh and Westad also discuss China's development since the 1970s, the trajectory of economic reforms and the shifts in its foreign policy. They also discuss the evolution and leadership of the People's Liberation Army, the reasons driving the India-China border crisis and the best way for India to deal with it.
45 minutes | Mar 14, 2022
Episode 19: Unpacking the Socio-Cultural and Political Aspects of India-China Ties
In the fifth episode of the our special series on India-China relations as part of India Speak: The CPR Podcast, our host, Sushant Singh (Senior Fellow, CPR) is joined by Cindy Yu (Broadcast Editor, The Spectator) to discuss the socio-cultural and political aspects of India-China ties. Born in Nanjing, China, Yu helps us to understand modern contemporary China from a personal and professional perspective. Together Yu and Singh discuss India's relevance in Chinese households, Chinese education and propaganda and the popularity of Bollywood in the country. They discuss why, despite being physical neighbours, the people of India and China have been distant, the issue of Tibet and the Dalai Lama, Hong Kong and the atrocities in Xinjiang. Finally, Yu sheds light on the shifts in China's foreign policy, President Xi's personality, Han Nationalism and the Great Firewall of China.
15 minutes | Mar 14, 2022
The Gig Sisters Episode 2: Pedicures and penalties
Beauty workers and the gig economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Beauty work is a high contact job, and as the pandemic spread, women in this sector faced an unprecedented challenge. How do they continue to work in the times of social distancing? How do they balance the need to earn a living with the health risks they expose themselves and their family members to? And even as work does start to pick up, are there any safety nets available to them to absorb the economic shocks they faced? To answer these questions, we spoke with three women beauty workers, two of whom work with an online platform and one in a salon. Join us to listen to their stories and understand the lives of women workers in urban areas. The Gig Sisters is a podcast by the Jobs Initiative at the Centre for Policy Research. It is an output of a collaborative research project called Digital Platforms and Women’s Work in Sri Lanka and India. Our partners on the project are World Resources Institute India, Indian Institute for Human Settlements, LIRNEasia in Sri Lanka. The project is a part of the Women, Work, and Gig Economy consortium managed by the JustJobs Network and funded by the International Development Research Centre. The show is edited and mixed by Anmol Karnik.
39 minutes | Mar 7, 2022
Episode 18: Uncovering the Historical and Political Aspects of Sino-India Ties
In the fourth episode of a special series on China, our host Sushant Singh (Senior Fellow, CPR) is in conversation with Rana Mitter (Author and Professor, History and Politics of Modern China & Director of the University China Centre, University of Oxford) to breakdown the historical and political aspects of China-India relations. Mitter helps us understand China's contemporary policy by looking at its ancient and modern history. They explore China's lingering insecurities of Japan's invasion in 1930-40's, its projection of never having invaded a country and the geopolitical realities of having over 14 international borders and significant maritime exposure. Singh and Mitter discuss China's view of the 1962 border conflict, the driver behind the shift in Chinese foreign policy and how specific factors of this policy would be applied differently for the West. Finally, they debate the significance of the Quad, increased militarisation of the Indian ocean, India's trade restrictions in comparison to China's economic success, and the evolution of India's soft power.
32 minutes | Mar 3, 2022
Episode 17: Decoding the Russia-Ukraine Crisis
In a fast changing situation in Europe, with Russian aggression into Ukraine, India finds itself walking a tightrope with its values and principles on one hand and interests on the other. India's vote in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has particularly attracted global attention. To decode the complexity of the Russian-Ukraine crisis and its implications for India, Sushant Singh, Senior Fellow, CPR is joined by Shyam Saran, Senior Fellow, CPR and Former Indian Foreign Secretary on this episode of India Speak: The CPR Podcast. Together they unpack India's interests at stake, including the safe evacuation of Indian students, India's relations with Russia, Ukraine, the US and most importantly, the need to keep all the communications channels open. Singh and Saran discuss the new shift in the international balance of the post Cold War/World War II order with NATO and the European Union (EU) undergoing significant changes in response to the current crisis. They also discuss the potential threat of a Pakistan-China-Russia alliance, implications of the UNSC vote on India-US ties, the QUAD and the Indo-Pacific, Russia's place in the international order and the best outcome from this crisis.
37 minutes | Feb 28, 2022
Episode 16: Uncovering the Strategic Aspects of Sino-India Ties
In the third episode of our series, hosted by Sushant Singh (Senior Fellow, CPR), featuring leading experts on the various facets of Sino-India relations, we are joined by Taylor Fravel (Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor of Political Science & Director, Security Studies Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology) to discuss the strategic aspects of Sino-India relations. Singh and Fravel unpack the relevance of the Chinese strategic guidelines for India and the significance of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) ground forces in a challenge against India. They also discuss the concept of active defence and the current PLA deployment at the Indian border, what could prompt Chinese aggression and its definition of a red line. Fravel also sheds light on China's domestic affairs, the Galwan incident and increase of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) sponsored nationalism. Finally, Singh and Fravel unpack the breakdown of the India-China SOPs that had been held for over three decades, the events in Doklam, China's intentions for the border crisis and what we can expect in the future.
41 minutes | Feb 21, 2022
Episode 15: Uncovering the Military Aspects of Sino-India Ties
In the second episode of our series, hosted by Sushant Singh (Senior Fellow, CPR), featuring leading experts on the various facets of Sino-India relations, we are joined by Dennis Blasko (Independent Analyst & former Senior Military Fellow, National Defense University, Washington, DC) to discuss the military aspects of Sino-India relations, the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) and what it means for India. Singh and Blasko discuss the origins of the PLA, its role as the defence arm of the Chinese Communist Party, and its modernisation into a professional army. They discuss the critique of the PLA being an untested army that hasn't seen armed combat since the 1979 war and the role of military theaterisations. Further, they discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the PLA in comparison to the armies of the USA and India, including - funding, military size, and reserves. With extensive research into the India-China border crisis of 2020, Blasko unpacks what really happened in Aksai Chin, the significance of the border defence forces, current political direction of the PLA and the likelihood of China and India going to war.
38 minutes | Feb 14, 2022
Episode 14:Uncovering the Historical Aspects of Sino-India Ties
We are delighted to present a brand new series hosted by Sushant Singh (Senior Fellow, CPR), featuring leading experts on the multiple facets of Sino-India relations. In the first episode of the series, we are joined by Arunabh Ghosh (Historian and Associate Professor of Modern Chinese, History Department, Harvard University) to unpack Sino-India relations through a historical lens. Together, Singh and Ghosh uncover the relationship between the two neighbours through documented exchanges in the 1950s involving statistics, mathematics and discussions on transnational institutions and scientific networks. They discuss the decline of these exchanges after the 1962 war, why the inadequate academic scholarship has not improved since and the dangers of intermediation of knowledge through a western prism. With China's economic success creating a sense of envy in India, it is important to acknowledge the history of this success, the role of imperial legacies in the border crisis and the need to understand the nature of the Chinese state and what exactly happened between the two great nations. Arunabh Ghosh website: https://scholar.harvard.edu/arunabh.ghosh Books mentioned: Making it Count: Statistics and Statecraft in the early People's Republic of China, Arunabh Ghosh (2020) Great State: China and the World, Timothy Brook (2019) From Rebel to Ruler: One Hundred Years of the Chinese Communist Party, Tony Saich (2021) The Cowshed: Memories of the Chinese Cultural Revolution, Ji Xianlin (2016) Eight Outcasts: Social and Political Marginalization in China Under Mao, Yang Kuisong (2019) How China Escaped Shock Therapy: The Market Reform Debate, Isabella Weber (2021)
35 minutes | Feb 11, 2022
Episode 13: Dissecting Electoral Trends for Assembly Elections 2022
With crucial assembly elections, all eyes are on the states of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur. Why are these elections important? What are the key electoral issues in these states? How will these elections shape the political narrative for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections? In episode 13 of India Speak: The CPR Podcast, Yamini Aiyar (President and Chief Executive, CPR) is joined by Rahul Verma (Fellow, CPR) to determine the current political trends and his outlook for the 2022 assembly elections. With the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Trinamool Congress (TMC) emerging as new actors in the opposition, they discuss what this means for the Congress. They also discuss where the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Samajwadi Party (SP) stand in the race. Further, Aiyar and Verma focus on the role of political economic dynamics in the political outcome of any electoral campaign, the long term implications of these polls for national politics and what they signal for 2024.
41 minutes | Jan 28, 2022
Episode 12: The Future of Multilateralism
In this episode of India Speak: The CPR Podcast, Shyam Saran (Senior Fellow, CPR and Former Indian Foreign Secretary) is joined by Asoke Mukerji (Former Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations). With illustrious careers in diplomacy, Saran and Mukerji unpack the future of multilateralism and its potential for cooperation amongst states, particularly as the world confronts cross-cutting global challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic, cyber security, terrorism and climate change. They discuss the potential of multilateralism to help deliver solutions through Agenda 2030, its structure through the UNSC and the 1945 Charter of the United Nations, the decline in US leadership in the UNSC and the calls for a restructuring of the UNSC. Finally, they discuss India's legacy of multilateralism, how it can play a leadership role in international relations, its limitations in resource allocation and capacity building and the importance to maintain its claim on a UNSC seat.
49 minutes | Nov 25, 2021
Episode 11: Unpacking the Repeal of the Farm Laws
On 19th November 2021, Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi announced the repeal of the three contentious farm laws following one of the longest farmers' agitation that the country has witnessed. The laws and the resultant protests brought agriculture back into the public discourse and the repeal has generated much debate on the political implications and the future of reforms. In this episode of India Speak: The CPR Podcast, Yamini Aiyar (President and Chief Executive, CPR) speaks with two of India's foremost voices on agriculture- Harish Damodaran (Senior Fellow, CPR) and Mekhala Krishnamurthy (Senior Fellow and Director, State Capacity Initiative, CPR). Damodaran and Krishnamurthy dissect the important questions around the issue and what this repeal means for the Indian economy, society and for the farmer. They explain what the protests brought to the table, what pushed policymakers to repeal the laws and what direction the policy discourse ought to now take. They also shed light on the need for a new vocabulary for thinking of agricultural reforms to ensure the country can realise the full potential of Indian agriculture.
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