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Indo-Chinese Relations & Border Issues in Northeast India: A View from India

By Dr. Thomas F. Lynch III Transcript

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Dr. Thomas F. Lynch III

(Dr. Lynch): Good morning and welcome to you all.

Today in addition to the hot weather outside, it’s actually a hot agenda here at the National Defense University both in terms of activities as well as for those that work in the wider intellectual community thinking of issues that we are going to discuss today. I thank you all for being here in a timely fashion and make early apologies for those who will be arriving perhaps a little bit late --- principally from the other side of the river, the Defense Department and the wider Pentagon who will join in as we continue. But I’m delighted to have each of you here today and delighted to be sitting next to our guest speaker.

Dr. Goswami and I have been in e-mail correspondence now for well over two years, both here at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) and earlier at her location in the New Delhi Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses (IDSA). We have been trying to find a way to get her seconded here at the NDU in a temporary duty status or get her here to speak to us about the subject of her important research. So we are delighted to have you here in the latter capacity and we are also appreciative of USIP for finding a way to bring you aboard and here to the United States.

As you can see from the program notes in your seats, Dr. Goswami is an Indian strategic analyst and represents a couple of elements that I think are unique and important. First, she is a non-military person who is working in the private sector thinking about defense issues and is a younger non-military person in the private sector thinking about these issues in India, which I found in my studies and research in India and South Asia is a new and welcome emerging trend. Indeed, one of my favorite India experts and mentors, Stephen Cohen, of the Brookings Institution has been wont to say that in India strategic policy is driven by civilians but there are few civilian strategic thinkers in India. I think that Dr. Goswami represents a break with that tradition from that past. The second and most important issue perhaps for us here today is that Dr. Goswami brings an intimate knowledge of an area of interface between the two countries in the world that are rising the fastest, that have the greatest growing GDP and the greatest activity in the exchange and interaction of any two joint powers: China and India. And she brings a research perspective as well as an on the ground perspective about one of the areas of their interface and exchange that has well over half century of history. That Indo-Chinese history is poorly understood by many in India itself. But more importantly, the history of North-East India is understood at no level of detail by those of us in the West. And yet there is an important history, an important set of relationships and interactions that tie and tether across the IndoChinese borders -- those defined and accepted and those that are not. These matters also engage the unique and cross-cutting socio-cultural ties to the indigenous people of North-East India.

Therefore, it is my distinct pleasure to welcome Dr. Goswami, who has both a research background and personal history that tie her to North-East India. She will talk to us now about things she’s both written about in the past and things she’s writing right now at USIP which she will be publishing soon. We here at NDU look forward to her forthcoming publications.

With that set up, I would like to thank you each again for being here today and I welcome you, Namrata, to our stage where we will bring up your presentation slides in just a second.

Thank you.

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