The theme of Regional Economic Cooperation will be focused not merely on the progress of individual blocs like SAARC, ASEAN, NAFTA and SADC. Fellows will be encouraged to compare the progress of these blocs, and also examine the potential for cooperation between different blocs especially those like SAARC and ASEAN. In addition to regional blocs, another important area under this theme is trade and connectivity between countries in a region outside the confines of a regional bloc. In South Asia for instance, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal are seeking to enhance land connectivity under the BBIN Corridor. An understanding of the key theories of regional cooperation will be helpful/necessary.
Fellows will be encouraged to research on the link between energy demand and geo- political issues, such as events in Eurasia, Africa and the Middle East. Research on new areas, such as the impact of the Shale Revolution in USA on global geo-politics, and the impact of energy demand on the approach of great powers to energy rich regions would be welcomed. A sound and nuanced understanding of geo-politics, along with energy issues would be helpful.
South Asian Affairs
Under this theme, Fellows are encouraged to adopt an interdisciplinary approach to issues pertaining to South Asia. Some possible issues which can be researched under this theme are- the impact of economic ties on political relations within South Asia, democratisation in South Asia, and the growth of civil society. In addition to this, Fellows are also encouraged to examine the role of external powers such as China and US in South Asia.
Under the theme of climate change, some of the issues which Fellows can research include- the key institutions and factors influencing climate change policies in individual countries as well as at multilateral forums, differences between the developing and developed world and the potential for reaching a compromise, likely conflicts arising out of climate change in the developing world, the role of India and China in current debates on climate change – especially in the context of the upcoming Climate Change Summit in Paris.
Under this theme, some suggested areas which can be researched are- international treaties and conventions pertaining to cyber security, emerging themes in cyber threats and future conflict between great powers over cyber issues, the balance between privacy, civil liberties and national security, the usage of cyber technologies for the spread of terrorism on a global scale etc. Fellows will also be encouraged to specifically examine the differing approaches of great powers to cyber security and its impact on traditional security doctrines.
International Culture and Media
Under this theme, some suggested topics that can be researched are- the role of national culture and news media in projection of soft power by different countries, the importance of cross-cultural understanding to improve fraught bilateral relationships between countries, the role of mass media in promoting enmity and friendship among nations; the emergence of new media and how it is transforming diplomacy, statecraft and social perceptions of local and global developments.