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O.P. Jindal Global University sets up new Jindal India Institute to build India’s soft power globally

O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU), based in Haryana's Sonipat, has launched a unique, one-of-its-kind Jindal India Institute (JII).

Sonipat, Jan 29,2024:  O.P. Jindal Global University (JGU), based in Haryana’s Sonipat, has launched a unique, one-of-its-kind Jindal India Institute (JII).

It is a strategic think tank housed within a private university for ideationally and intellectually enabling India’s rise in the world by building and disseminating a transnational, intellectually rigorous, evidence-based, multidisciplinary corpus of knowledge that promotes the positive aspects and achievements of India.

JII’s goal is to intellectually decolonise the study and depiction of India and spread global awareness about India’s extraordinary accomplishments and potential in the 21st century.

Until now, only international educational institutions such as King’s College London, the University of Birmingham, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Pennsylvania have been known to have set up reputed India Institutes or Centres that cover diverse aspects of the India story through their in-house scholars and transnational networks and their own ideological lenses. It is ironic and lamentable that despite the existence of more than 1,000 universities and 50,000 higher education institutions in India, not one of them had so far ventured into anything akin to a JII that would comprehensively and convincingly tell the remarkable India story to the world.

A multidisciplinary, all-encompassing India Institute that can bolster India’s rise through an independent narrative about the millions of transformations the country is undergoing has been missing in Indian academia. JII is a pioneer that intends to fill this big vacuum and ideationally propel India’s rise.

The tagline of JII is ‘Propelling the Indian Century’, by which the Institute means working toward fulfilling national objectives for the centenary of India’s independence in 2047, such as Viksit Bharat or developed India and ‘leading power’, and also to develop an imagination and roadmap for long-term strategising on how India can be a world leader for the entire 21st century.

Although India is today fiercely independent and protective of its strategic autonomy, there is still an unfortunate tendency to look up to Western educational institutions and news media houses for learning, knowledge production and judgement on what India is and where it should be heading.

JII aims to break the intellectual hegemony of India being other-defined and usher in a culture and practice of high-quality research, analysis, policy advocacy and trainings that enable a self-defined and self-confident India to emerge as a world leader.

JII is led by the Vice Chancellor of JGU, Dr. C. Raj Kumar, who is JII’s President, and the Dean of the Jindal School of International Affairs, Dr Sreeram Chaulia, who is JII’s Director General.

On the occasion of JII’s establishment, the Vice Chancellor of JGU and president of the Jindal India Institute (JII), Prof. (Dr.) C. Raj Kumar said: “The task of offering the true picture of India to the world cannot be left to governments or Public Relations agencies. Only a top non-partisan private university like JGU with over 1200 research-oriented faculty members from multiple disciplines can do justice to this cause. Higher educational institutions in India have a special responsibility to uphold the image and raise the stature of our country in the world. India’s aspirations for building a Viksit Bharat in 2047 is only possible when its own universities generate knowledge about India in a systematic and strategic way that impresses and influences international audiences. JII is an ambitious effort to increase global support and appreciation for India’s accomplishments and potential in a range of issue areas and fields. We intend to transform perceptions about India through eye-opening and pioneering research, teaching, policy advocacy and training initiatives.”

Speaking at the launch of JII, its Director General, Dr. Sreeram Chaulia commented, “For a long time, India has been painted internationally in terms of its failures, inadequacies and disappointments. India has been problematised endlessly and critiqued by ideologically biased Indian and foreign intellectuals and journalists for not following the pathway that India is supposed to follow as per their elitist expectations and prescriptions.

Especially in certain corners in the West, India-bashing is a badge of honour and a synonym for ‘progressive’ outlooks. Downplaying India’s achievements and exaggerating its lacunae is a dogma in these academic and journalistic circles. JII is an independent venture to correct the imbalances caused by misguided presentations of India. It will provide the much-needed credible India narrative and India voice to sensitise the world about the extraordinary transformations underway in the country in different domains. Instead of just critiquing the critics and calling out the errors of the India-bashers, JII will bring to light alternative evidence to show how India is making steady progress in a range of fields and setting an example as a world leader in many domains.”

The issue-areas which will be covered under JII include India’s democracy, economy, society, culture, spirituality, science and technology, entrepreneurship, inclusiveness, rule-of-law, human rights, education, healthcare provision, environmental conservation, foreign policy etc. The bulk of the JII’s intellectual output will come from JGU’s existing faculty members who have outstanding publication and research credentials. They will be simultaneously accredited to JII as Fellows and Senior Fellows and will co-author and co-ideate alongside the foreign scholars-in-residence who will be selected to come to JGU under the aegis of a Global India Visiting Fellowship.

Since JII is committed to spreading consciousness and generating support for the Indian Century globally, it has assembled a stellar group of ‘Friends of India abroad’ as part of its International Board of Advisers. These outstanding scholars and thought leaders believe that India’s rise is beneficial to the world.

Here is the full list of JII’s International Advisers:

Eduardo M. Penalver – President, Seattle University, US

Ian Johnstone – Professor of International Law, The Fletcher School, Tufts University, USA

Jeffrey S. Lehman – Vice Chancellor, NYU Shanghai, China

Hang Nga Thi Le – Deputy Editor-in-Chief, Vietnam Journal for Indian and Asian Studies, Vietnam

Academy of Social Sciences, Vietnam

Satoru Nagao – Fellow (Non-resident), Hudson Institute, Japan

Nathaniel Persily – James B. McClatchy Professor of Law, Stanford Law School, Stanford University, US

Peter H. Schuck – Simeon E. Baldwin Professor Emeritus of Law, Yale Law School, Yale University, US

Holli A. Semetko – Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Media & International Affairs, Emory University, US

Lawrence W. Sherman – Wolfson Professor Emeritus, University of Cambridge, UK

Richard Caplan – Professor of International Relations, University of Oxford, UK

Salvatore Babones – Associate Professor, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences, University of Sydney, Australia

Anja Jetschke – Professor, International Relations, Institute of Political Science Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany

Sabu Padmadas – Founding Director, India Centre for Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development, University of Southampton, UK

Joanna Newman – Provost, SOAS University of London, UK

JII is independent from any Indian political party or faction. It is non-partisan in terms of its affiliations with corporate houses and foreign partners. Grants and funds that JII receives from partners in India and abroad will be transparent in nature and meant for specific deliverable projects or publicly visible activities. JII will never come under undue pressure or influence of any vested interest groups and compromise its independent vision and commitment to advance the Indian Century.

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