TODAY -

Seminar on Federalism, Foreign Policy and Border States : Dynamics from NE States
- Date : 22 -23rd March 2013 -



The Department of International Relations/Politics, School of Global Studies, Sikkim University is organising a National Seminar on Federalism, Foreign Policy and Border States:Dynamics from North East States of India on 22nd -23rd March 2013. Please see the concept note and details of the seminar attached herewith.

The proposed Seminar is for two days and has four academic sessions (besides Inaugural Session and Concluding Session). Each session has 4-5 presentations on the focal theme of the session followed by a discussion.

Session I: Understanding Borders in IR
Re-conceptualising borders and border security

Constructing Borders in Northeast India: Colonial and post colonial dimensions

Do Border States Matter: Beyond the peripheries

Session II: Border States in Indian Federalism and Foreign Policy
Constitutional Dimensions
Globalization and Changing context of cross border interactions
People, Communities and Foreign Policy
Bring borders back to foreign policy discourse

Session III: Economics of Border: Emerging Trends

Sub regionalism and economic integration

Look East through North East

Cross border economic interaction of North East States: Case Studies

Session IV: Re-writing Border Security
Water
Energy
Environment
Arms, Drugs and Human Trafficking
Migration

Venue: Conference Hall, Sikkim University, 6th Mile, Gangtok

Organizer: Dept. of International Relations/Politics, School of Global Studies, Sikkim University in Collaboration with ICSSR, New Delhi

Last date for the submission of abstracts (in 500 words) is 25th February 2013.

The selected abstracts will be communicated by 26th February and the final full paper should be submitted by 20th March 2013.

Participants will be provided with travel allowance and local hospitality.

National Seminar on
Federalism, Foreign Policy and Border States:
Dynamics from North East States of India
Date of Seminar -22 -23rd March 2013

Organizers: Department of International Relations/Politics,
School of Global Studies, Sikkim University

The Concept Note


Foreign policy formulation is one of the main attributes of modern nation's state existence. The capability to negotiate and influence at the bilateral, multilateral and international arena, whether political or economic outcomes is the hallmark of a nation states foreign policy practices. In other words, foreign policy is "the action and purposes of the state in the world beyond its own territorial boundaries" (Jones 1974: 1). According to this traditional notion of foreign policy, foreign policy formulation is a priority of every state to define, influence and assert its existence in international politics.

However, in the late 20th century there has been a transformation in the study of foreign policy which challenges this traditional realist approach to foreign policy. The end of the Cold War has opened up a whole new dimension to states' behavior in conducting its relations with other actors (both state and nonstate) in the international system. The transformation from a Bipolar to Unipolar and subsequently towards Multi-polar system; the acceleration of globalization process; and the increasing trend towards economic integration at the regional and sub-regional level have drastically altered the concerns and processes of states' foreign policy formulation. These systemic changes have not only led to bring new challenges and opportunities of States' foreign policy behavior at the international level but also at the domestic level (Rosenau, Putnam, 1988)

Today, understanding of borders goes beyond the traditional discourse of conflict. Borders are now also seen as a point of opportunities rather than impediment in inter- state relations. In a larger framework, such opportunities are realized through cross border linkages. Borders which once consider as 'frontier area' or 'zone' that merge or dilute a contiguous geographical space is today merged as 'border region' which "encompasses areas immediately beside a state's external border, or straddling it, and also administrative regions abutting a border whose centers are physically and socially distant from that border" (Anderson and O'Dowd,1999: 595).

Federalism, Foreign Policy and Border States: Contextualizing India

The question that often arises is whether India exhibits a typical unitary form of government with a strong centre or a 'Quasi-Federal' where some form of distribution of power between the centre and the constituent exist. Despite the existence of division of power between the Union and the State as in any federal structure, yet the Indian Constitution has empowered the Union with an overriding authority over most of the State's subjects and provisions and in case of conflict between the Union and the States, the Union prevails. However with the liberalization of the Indian economy and the forces of globalization boundaries between global, domestic and local are increasingly getting blurred. Similarly, the nature of Indian federalism also underwent a structural transformation that cuts through the functioning of the domestic and foreign policy.

As we see today, the expanding transboundary activities in trade, refugee, environment, trafficking and terrorism increased the importance of Border States in conceptualizing foreign policy. India has Northeast region shares more than 4500 kilometers of international border. More than 90% of Northeast India's eight subnational states borders are with foreign countries and only one percent of the region is connected to mainland India. Despite the fact that boundaries in this region represents a source of conflict (case of India-China in Sikkim and Arunachal, and India-Bangladesh in Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura) there has been attempt in recent time by the government of India to re-connect this region with the immediate neighbourhood as part of its larger foreign policy strategy. The recognition of border as a capacity building mechanism can be seen in the opening up of borders for trade and interaction.

If this project of re-connecting Northeast states with their immediate communities across the border is a larger foreign policy strategy of the central government, at the same time represents an assertion of identity by these border states in the post-liberalized Indian economy. This is important because border policy in India has been directed more from the lenses of Delhi rather than that of the border community themselves.

The nature of India's federalism has generally led to a debate on foreign policy in two opposite directions. The first direction is the two arguments that examine Indian federalism from the prism of a strong centre thus nullifying the claim of states government's role in foreign policy making (Verney and Frankel, 1986). The questions that are emerged here is:

i) Are these issues a case for supporting the idea of decentralization of foreign policy, more importantly in the case of the Provincial/States/Constituent of a sovereign state?
ii) Taking into account of the change in Indian polity and federal structure in the recent years, how far Border States matter in India's foreign policy?
iii) Do these Border States acting as sub-national government provide a better option in negotiation with India's neighbour rather than leaving to the Union Government to conduct such trans-border negotiation?
iv) Finally, in the case of India, what is the degree to which border states expressed their role in foreign policy making and what is the response of the central government?

Following are the Subthemes of various sessions
The proposed Seminar is for two days and carrying four academic sessions (besides Inaugural Session and Concluding Session). Each session has 4-5 presentations on the focal theme of the session followed by a discussion.
Session I: Understanding Borders in IR
Re-conceptualising borders and border security
Constructing Borders in Northeast India: Colonial and post colonial dimensions
Do Border States Matter: Beyond the peripheries
Session II: Border States in Indian Federalism and Foreign Policy
Constitutional Dimensions
Globalization and Changing context of cross border interactions
People, Communities and Foreign Policy
Bring borders back to foreign policy discourse
Session III: Economics of Border: Emerging Trends
Sub regionalism and economic integration
Look East through North East
Cross border economic interaction of North East States: Case Studies
Session IV: Re-writing Border Security
Water
Energy
Environment
Arms, Drugs and Human Trafficking
Migration

Date of Seminar: 22-23rd March 2013.
Venue: Conference Hall, Sikkim University, 6th Mile, Gangtok
Organizer: Dept. of International Relations/Politics, School of Global Studies, Sikkim University in Collaboration with ICSSR, New Delhi

Last date for the submission of abstracts (in 500 words) is 25th February 2013.
The selected abstracts will be communicated by 26th February and the final full paper should be submitted by 20th March 2013.
Participants will be provided with travel allowance and local hospitality.

Abstract should be submitted at
teibor@gmail.com, teibor@hotmail.com, njarakkulath@gmail.com
addressing Border Seminar as Subject. Contact Persons
Dr. Sebastian N
Dept. of International Relations
Sikkim University
Email: njarakkulath@gmail.com

Dr. Teiborlang T. Kharsyntiew
Dept. of International Relations
Sikkim University Email: teibor@gmail.com



* This info was sent by Hanjabam Shukhdeba who can be contacted at hanjabam(at)gmail(dot)com
This Post is webcasted on February 15, 2013.

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