The two regional blocks, EU and SAARC, have been cooperating on multiple fronts. For instance, the EU is South Asia’s largest trading partner as well as a major development and aid partner. The EU is also an observer within the SAARC. South Asia is home to over one-fifth of the world's population – and rapidly becoming one of the pivotal regions in the globe, with growing economic and strategic significance.
As Such, the “EU-SAARC Think Tank Summit 2021” to be jointly hosted on January 2021by the Asian Institute of Diplomacy and International Affairs (AIDIA), a Kathmandu-based foreign policy think-tank, and South Asia Democratic Forum (SADF), a Brussels-based think tank, will discuss the multiple challenges in inter-regional cooperation between the EU and South Asia. At this summit both policy shapers and makers from political circles, government agents, representatives of think-tanks and academia, civil society, business, and media from the two regions will come together in a virtual platform to discuss a wide range of subjects related to inter-regional ties.
The summit will focus primarily on bolstering networks and collaboration between think-tanks from the two regions; advancing inter-regional economic cooperation; exploring regional strategies of both the EU in South Asia; evaluating contemporary challenges in regional integration; examining the role of EU in promoting development and democracy in South Asia; and responding efficiently to common, non-traditional security threats.
JANUARY 20, 2020 - WEDNESDAY
10:00-11:30 CET/ 14:30-16:00 IST
Opening Plenary: Building Cooperation between European and South Asian Think Tanks
Opening Plenary Session Brief
Constructive cooperation and dialogue amidst European and South Asian think tanks is imperative for deepening cooperation between two regional blocs. This session will accentuate the practical aspects of this cooperation, including exploring collaborative prospects in research and publications, promoting regular dialogues, and sharing innovative ideas and best practices. Our goal is of course to develop the best policy recommendations so as to deal with both emerging issues and daunting challenges affecting relations between the EU and South Asia. The session will also focus on how think tanks from both regions generate innovative ideas and cope with funding issues.
13:00-14:30 CET/ 17:30-19:00 IST
Session II: Regional Integration in the EU and South Asia: Contemporary Analysis and the Future Prospects
Plenary Session II Brief
The EU and South Asia differ greatly as concerns regional integration processes, approaches, characteristics and functionalities. In this context, the panel will examine some key questions of our times. For example, how is the rise of nationalism and populism in a post-Brexit scenario affecting EU integration dynamics? What are the underlying impediments for the revitalization of the SAARC process? What are the future prospects and policy options laying before us? What can South Asia learn from the EU’s regional integration model?
JANUARY 21, 2020 – THURSDAY
09:00-10:30 CET/ 13:30-15:00 IST
Plenary Session III: Exploring the EU’s Regional Strategies in South Asia
Plenary Session III Brief
South Asia is rapidly emerging as a pivotal region in the global arena. The session will explore the EU’s core regional interests in South Asia – including maritime security in the Indian Ocean Region and the India-EU Strategic Partnership. Considering emerging global and regional dynamics, the panel will also examine EU’s renewed interests and strategies regarding South Asia.
12:00-13:30 CET/ 16:30-18:00 IST
Closing Plenary Session: Addressing Non-traditional Security Challenges between EU and South-Asia
Closing Plenary Session Brief
Both the EU and South Asia are dealing with various emerging, non-traditional security threats. The panel of experts will underline respective regional challenges and put forward some policy options thought effective. Issues discussed will include water, food and energy security; cooperation in the context of climate change; cooperation as regards natural disasters preparedness and relief; cross-border movements and migration analysis; combating transnational organized crime and terrorism; knowledge-sharing of cyber security; and dealing with public health crisis (COVID-19), inter alia.
Dr. Werner Fasslabend
President, Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy (AIES), Austria
H.E. Ugo Astuto
Ambassador of the European Union to India and Bhutan
Mr. Paulo Casaca
Executive Director, South Asia Democratic Forum & Former Member of the European Parliament
H.E. Mrs. Nona Deprez
Ambassador and Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Nepal
Dr. Arvind Gupta
Director, Vivekananda International Foundation, (VIF)
Mr. Sunil K.C.
Dr Bishnu Raj Upreti
Head, Policy Research Institute, Nepal
Dr. Malgorzata Bonikowska
President, Center for International Relations (CSM), Poland
Dr. Masuma Hasan
Chairman, The Pakistan Institute of International Affairs (PIIA)
Dr. Khan Ahmed Sayeed Murshid
Director General, Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies
Mr Sabyasachi Dutta
Executive Director, Asian Confluence, Meghalaya
Professor Harsh V Pant
Kings College London; SADF Advisory Board Member, UK/India
Dr. habil. Christian Wagner
Senior Fellow, Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP)/German Institute for International and Security Affairs, Germany
Dr. Steven Blockmans
Director of Research, Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), Belgium
Dr. Manish Thapa
Professor of Research - Institute of International Relations at University of Warsaw
Dr Sreeradha Datta
Centre Head & Senior Fellow, Neighbourhood Studies, VIF
Dr. Mathew Sinu Simon
Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), India
Dr. Garima Mohan
Fellow, German Marshall Fund, berlin
Dr. Constantino Xavier
Fellow, The Centre for Social and Economic Progress (CSEP), India
Dr Bharti Chhibber
Assistant Professor, University of Delhi, India
Dr. Emma Hakala
Senior Research Fellow, Finnish Institute of International Affairs
Dr. Iole Fontana
Research Fellow, Department of Political and Social Science, University of Catania
Mr. Dattesh Prabhu Parulekar
Assistant Professor, School of International and Area Studies, Goa University
Mr Sameer Patil
Fellow, National Security Studies & Director, Centre for International Security, Gateway House
Ms. Stefania Benaglia
Associate Researcher, Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), Belgium
Mr. Shyam K.C.
Research and Development Director, AIDIA (Moderator)
- Virtual Conference