Adopted from United Nations' cartographic map of Southasia.
Adopted from United Nations' cartographic map of Southasia.

RCSS at 25

Journey of a Southasian institution

In this fractured region where fault lines are preserved by politics, the study of international relations and security are framed largely by national perspectives. "What serves my country's interest best?" – not necessarily "my country's best interest" – has been not just the standard foreign-policy lens, but also the most common framework in regional analysis. The 1980s and 1990s seemed to offer new openings for regional cooperation, but developments in more recent years appear to have reversed the promise of those initiatives.

In 1983, the declaration for the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was signed, and the organisation was founded in 1985. The idea of 'South Asia' felt at once familiar – a new, more neutral name for the region that was historically referred to as 'India' – but also like an import. 'South Asia' was already being used in American academic and policy circles to avoid conflating the region with India. The funding of regional collaborative projects by American foundations may have reinforced this impression, creating, especially in India, a lingering distaste for the term.

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Himal Southasian