The Evolving Indo Pacific: Revisiting the Civilisational Connect

Date:   Wed Feb 24, 2021 - Wed Feb 24, 2021










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Concept Note

The Indo-Pacific is an emerging narrative in the geo-politics of current times. The Indo Pacific Oceans initiative has also gathered momentum.   Presently most narratives around the Indo-Pacific are mainly emanating from a security, strategy and economic diplomacy view-point. However, the nations in this region share common values embodied in the shared threads of religion, history, art, culture, lifestyles etc. The region is a unique melting pot of diverse culture, language, dance forms, cuisines, and many more. The region once used to be a territory here people, ideas, art forms, cuisines, commerce and friendships flowed freely and easily. Kolkata or Calcutta, as it earlier used to be known as was both a commercial and a cultural hub for the Bay of Bengal region in those days. While changing political boundaries in the modern day world changed some of that by thwarting the free flow that the region enjoyed, the spirit of the region has not moved away substantially from its earlier self. Particularly in terms of how culture in its various forms, strongly impacts, influences and often times even dictates the socio-political and even economic discourses in the region.

The region is also one “water linked” region giving rise to common challenges of fresh water security, ocean waste, riverine degradation and effects of climate change.  The cultural connect can be useful entry point towards awareness creation and fostering ground up actions and collaboration to address these challenges.  A more culturally connected region can also provide new ideas for knowledge service based industries of the future and hold the key to more creative infrastructure for promoting people-to-people contacts in the region.


In the present times we are faced  with many layers of crisis, including the impairing pandemic of COVID19, the shifting discourses on ethnicity, the conflicting narratives on citizenship and nations, and a general sense of  “distanced”-disconnect, siloed identities, existences and ideas. All of these are causing fault lines to appear on the painstakingly put together narrative on regionalism and regional cooperation. Given this backdrop, civilisational and cultural links can be very instrumental enabler to help us move away from these silos and remind us of our connect and friendships, particularly those that talk of inter-linkages, commonalities and synergised nature of our culture, forms and languages. This is because culture provides a common language that allows civilisations and states to come together and help them influence the drivers of social change.


With this backdrop, the webinar will be a start of series of initiatives by Asian Confluence with various stakeholders in the region to connect people and institutions and create narratives for future cooperation based on our strong narratives of culture, ecology and lifestyles. It would launch a series of activities by Asian Confluence with partners which will aim towards knowledge creation for the region on the civilizational connect which exists and aims towards inclusive sustainable growth and development. These can be the starting point to rebuild some universal cultural narratives in the region which underscores that point that the Indo Pacific is above all a civilizational connected region.


Welcome: Sadhana Shrivastav, Cultural Thought Leaders and Member Governing Council, Asian Confluence


Introduction to the theme: Sabyasachi Dutta, Executive Director, Asian Confluence


Keynote address: Amb. Dinesh K. Patnaik, DG, Indian Council for Cultural Affairs (ICCR)

Moderated Panel Discussion:


·      Amb. Suryakanthi Tripathi, IFS (Retd.)

·      Prof. Parul Pandya Dhar, Associate Professor, University of Delhi

·      Dr. Prabir De, Professor, ASEAN-India Centre, RIS India


Q&A with Audience


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