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THE INSTITUTE

The Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS), founded in 1996 as an independent think-tank by former Indian Administrative Service officer PR Chari and Major General (Retd) Dipankar Banerjee, aims to develop an alternative framework for peace and security in South Asia through independent research and analysis.

It continues to be a leading independent research organisation in the region with no affiliation to a particular institution and/or ideology.

FACULTY

The faculty of the Institute includes regular staff, the Executive Committee, Governing Council, and Distinguished and Visiting Fellows.

A team of researchers staff the IPCS, and they handle all activities under the supervision of the IPCS Governing Council (GC). These range from conducting research and organising academic discussions to handling the website and editorial responsibilities. The Executive Committee looks after IPCS’ statutory requirements.

The research staff draws extensively on the expertise of the GC, which is made of a cross-section of experts and is responsible for IPCS’ academic stewardship and agenda-setting. Amb (Retd) Salman Haidar, former Foreign Secretary of India, is the Patron of IPCS, Lt Gen Arvinder S Lamba (former Vice-Chief of Army Staff) serves as its President, and Atul Chaturvedi, former Chairman, Public Enterprises Selection Board, & former Principal Adviser, Cabinet Secretariat, is the Chairman of the IPCS Governing Council.

RESEARCH & PROGRAMMES

The initial charter of the IPCS focused on non-military security issues in South Asia. However, the nuclear tests of 1998 and developments in the post 9/11 period in South Asia redirected its focus, leading to an attempt at striking a balance between military and non-military security issues. Research is carried out through four programmes:

  • Nuclear Security Programme (NSP)
  • Southeast Asia Research Programme (SEARP)
  • China Research Programme (CRP)
  • Centre for Internal and Regional Security (IReS)

IPCS focuses on the following issues within these programmes:

  • Nuclear security
  • China’s relations with its neighbours
  • US, India and China in the Indian Ocean
  • US and the Asia Pacific
  • Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Myanmar
  • Taliban, al Qaeda, radicalism, and transnational asymmetrical warfare and terrorism
  • Maritime issues

Besides individual publications by its faculty, over the past decade, over 40 books on wide-ranging subjects have been published.

The IPCS also publishes Research Papers, Special Reports and Issue Briefs. Research Papers are 7000-8000 word-long essays; Special Reports are shorter essays ranging from 5000-6000 words and may also include special compendiums on current issues. Issue Briefs focus on contemporary developments and their implications.

The most regular publications are commentaries of 800-850 words on current issues. These are immediate responses and analyses published in real time. On an average, the IPCS publishes 35-40 commentaries each month.

The IPCS website is a repository of information and real-time commentary on security issues and serves a large online community. Every programme has a dedicated webpage that contains all programme publications and activities. These register a record number of hits from online viewers and are updated on a daily basis. As an independent think-tank, IPCS believes in promoting alternative approaches to security issues. IPCS has the youngest faculty profile in the region, and invites young scholars from across the world to be hosted as interns and visiting fellows.

POLITICAL RISK ANALYSIS

IPCS’ latest initiative is a research wing that offers political risk analysis and consulting services, launched in January 2016. Through its newly installed software that allows 24/7 access to all open source material available on the internet, the IPCS research team sifts through information, detects and decodes developments, and provides in-depth trend and data analysis.

The topics could range from the recruitment patterns of the Islamic State on social media platforms in a period of time, to coverage of local social and political grievances on the drilling of oil along the disputed Assam-Nagaland border, to a perception analysis of government policies from a particular stakeholder’s point of view.

The IPCS research team has been trained to observe, understand and explain open source intelligence in a way that would help clients anticipate challenges and opportunities to make better, more informed decisions. The combination of subject-matter expertise, ability to identify relevant sources, and domestic and regional knowledge will ensure the delivery of unparalleled insight into world media.

To streamline client experience, several services tailor-made to individual requirements are offered. These can include, but are not limited to, geographic/thematic dossiers, situation alerts and instant reactions to breaking news. Within a 24-hour news cycle, for example, clients can expect an instant reaction – a succinct real-time brief, produced within hours of an event. A dossier with more comprehensive analysis and future projections follows 24 hours later.

Having successfully pilot tested this initiative, the political risk component of the IPCS research activities is now fully operational and work on several projects has begun.

DISCUSSIONS, REVIEWS & CONFERENCES

IPCS also undertakes reviews of external publications and research. As part of this initiative, book discussions and peer reviews are organised. The Institute also provides briefings to visiting teams from abroad. Based on requests and depending on the Institute’s schedule and specialisation, the short closed-door briefings on select themes are provided to visiting research teams and diplomatic delegations.

The environment is an encouraging and inspiring one with many like-minded people focused on interesting global issues from religion to nuclear weapons to regional stability to mention a few. The collaborative nature of the workplace empowers development of ideas and strengthening of research approaches. The team engages regularly in group discussions which range from light hearted discourse to considered debate and everyone is included…”

Shanta Maree Surendran, Research Intern (February-April 2013)

ALTERNATIVE OPINIONS, YOUNG VOICES

IPCS’ ‘New Issues, Young Voices’ initiative provides a platform to young voices from South Asia to discuss contemporary issues and solutions. Since 2013, the Institute has organised three such dialogues for young scholars from Ladakh, Northeast India and Nepal. Through interactions with the government, security strategists, academics, former bureaucrats and defence personnel, the IPCS work towards contributing and strengthening the strategic discourse in India.

PARTNERS & NETWORKS

IPCS closely interacts with leading strategic thinkers, former members of the Indian Administrative Service, the Indian Foreign Service and the three wings of the Indian armed forces – the army, navy, and the air force – the academic community, and the media.

IPCS also organises track-II dialogues involving the strategic community from other countries on select issues such as nuclear security, India-Pakistan and Afghanistan, and water security, and cross-border terrorism issues. It has partnered with the Brookings Institution, Sandia National Laboratories, IISS, China Research Forum, and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, among others, in the past.

IPCS is also part of several regional and international networks. In South Asia, it is the founder member of the Consortium of South Asian Think Tanks (COSATT), a network of leading think-tanks in the region; the Strategic Studies Network (SSN) led by the Near East South Asia Center (NESA) with think-tanks and scholars from North Africa, West Asia, Central Asia, and South Asia; the Council for Asian Transnational Threat Research (CATR) with experts and Institutes from South Asia, Southeast Asia, Australia, Korea, Japan and the United States; and the GIBSA network with the Institute for International and Security Affairs (Stiftung  Wissenschaft und Politik, SWP), Berlin; Centro de Brasileiro de Relações Internacionais (CEBRI), Rio de Janeiro; and the Institute for Security Studies (ISS), Pretoria.

FUNDING AND COMMITMENT TO INDEPENDENCE

In the past, IPCS has received project support from various establishments that include the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, the Government of Jammu and Kashmir, the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, the MacArthur Foundation, the Korea Foundation, the Japan Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and Ploughshares, among others.

While IPCS receives funding from various government agencies and private sources, its policy recommendations do not subscribe to any particular political view or interest. The Institute is dedicated to independent and non-partisan research and analysis.