Amb. Rakesh Sood

Amb. Rakesh Sood

Course Curator

This first-of-its-kind course on India’s foreign policymaking is aimed at graduate students, researchers and mid-career professionals from India and abroad. This multi-module program will enable participants to critically analyse Indian foreign policy responses to current geopolitical trends informed by history, and empirical evidence. Led by seasoned practitioners, the course unpacks and clarifies the famously opaque institutional and bureaucratic mechanisms of India’s foreign policymaking.


  • Amb. Rakesh Sood

    Amb. Rakesh Sood

    Former Diplomat

    Ambassador Rakesh Sood, Course Curator, will lay down the learning objectives and vision of this course. 


  • Amb. Vivek Katju

    Amb. Vivek Katju

    Former Diplomat

    In this session, Ambassador Vivek Katju will examine the institutional mechanisms and bureaucratic processes that shape the MEA’s functioning and the chain of command in foreign policy decision making. He will also highlight the current divisions of the MEA while also analysing the divisions that have come up over the past decade. The dynamics between these divisions and other branches of government such as PMO, R&AW and other Ministries (MOD,MOC, MOF, etc.) will be explored in the session.


  • TBC


    The primary objective of this session is to explore ideas that have persisted in India’s foreign policy thinking. It will explore how historical, cultural and social factors have impacted Indian foreign policy thinking to result in operative elements such as - Non alignment, Strategic Autonomy, Nuclear minimalism, civilian control over the military etc.


  • Amb. TCA Raghavan

    Amb. TCA Raghavan

    Former Diplomat

    Amb. TCA Raghavan will probe the origins of India’s foreign policy apparatus in this introductory session. The session will investigate the origins of the MEA and in particular analyse colonial sinews, inherited structures, and institutional predecessors of the MEA. The role of India’s engagement with the international order and institutions in shaping its Forgien policy apparatus will be examined. Additionally, key individuals and events that influenced India’s foreign policy structures will be identified.


  • Amb. Ajay Bisaria

    Amb. Ajay Bisaria

    Former Diplomat

    In session Amb. Ajay Bisaria will address India's diplomatic missions in other countries and international institutions. The session will also highlight the main instruments of diplomacy that India adopts abroad including the recent Vaccine diplomacy initiative, Lines of credit in Bangladesh, Military and Naval diplomacy. The mechanisms adopted by India to deploy these instruments in its foreign missions will be discussed as well.


  • Amb. Riva Ganguly Das

    Amb. Riva Ganguly Das

    Former Diplomat

    Amb. Riva Ganguly Das will discuss India's relationships with its immediate Eastern neighbours and their strategic significance to India during this session. India’s management of multilateral frameworks such as BIMSTEC and ASEAN, its approach to the BBIN states and its future approach to engage with Southeast Asian states will be key focus areas.


  • Amb. Rakesh Sood

    Amb. Rakesh Sood

    Former Diplomat

    In this session Amb. Rakesh Sood will focus on India’s dealings with two states in its immediate periphery, and the complex dynamics of each. It seeks to probe the degree of India’s dependency on Pakistan and Afghanistan for its engagement with Central Asia. The influence of Indo-Pak relations on Afghanistan in India’s regional strategy will be explored in the session while also highlighting the main drivers for India’s engagement with Taliban and the possibility of a long term strategy.


  • Amb. Talmiz Ahmad

    Amb. Talmiz Ahmad

    Former Diplomat

    Amb. Talmiz Ahmad will discuss India's Western engagement beyond Pakistan and Afghanistan in this session. West Asia’s prominence to India, the evolution of India’s dealings with West Asian states such as Israel, Iran, UAE and KSA and how it diplomatically balances itself when dealing with states who are hostile to each other are some of the themes that will be explored in this session. India’s role in West Asian groupings like GCC will be investigated as well.

  • Prof. C Raja Mohan

    Prof. C Raja Mohan

    Senior Fellow, Asia Society Policy Institute

    In this session Prof. C Raja Mohan,will focus on how India manoeuvres through the geopolitical tussle among great powers such USA, Russia and China. The session will expand on the diplomatic tools utilised by India to maintain its strategic relationship with Russia, along with the USA and also how India pushes its interests with these two powers to deal with China. India’s measures of protecting its regional strategy from great power competition will be examined.


  • Amb. Vijay Gokhale

    Amb. Vijay Gokhale

    Former Foreign Secretary

    In this session Amb. Vijay Gokhale will explore India’s contemporary relationship with its biggest regional neighbour – China. The session will trace the evolution of India’s relationship with China over the last decade while also addressing the diplomatic tools used by India. One of the foundational questions it will answer is whether there is a strategic vision in New Delhi over the future of the India-China relationship. India’s means of engagement with China at multilateral forums such as the SCO, BRICS, ADB, etc, while dealing with a Chinese security threat will be addressed in the session.


  • Amb. Mohan Kumar

    Amb. Mohan Kumar

    Former Diplomat


    The diplomatic successes Indian foreign policy has witnessed in the domain of trade is the central theme of this session instructed by Amb. Mohan Kumar. He will probe how geo-economics is evolving at the regional and global levels. The session will also expand on India’s landmark trade agreements with other states in the last decade, India’s approach to trade negotiations at bilateral and multilateral levels and the challenges faced at these forums. Key questions about India’s perception of economic frameworks such as RCEP and IPEF’s trade pillar and the country’s approach to ensure supply chain resilience in key areas will be expanded in the session.




  • R R Rashmi

    R R Rashmi

    Distinguished Fellow and Programme Director, Earth Science and Climate Change, TERI

    This session shall explore the diplomatic successes of Indian foreign policy in climate negotiations. Key aims of this session include understanding India’s general attitude towards contemporary agreements pertaining to climate change, India’s traditional approach to COP Summits and how India diplomatically approaches with Western nations in the context of emission levels.


  • Amb. D B Venkatesh Varma

    Amb. D B Venkatesh Varma

    Former Diplomat

    Hosted by Amb. Rakesh Sood and instructed by Amb. DB Venkatesh Varma this will be an interactive case study discussion that is aimed at helping students utilise their learnings from the previous sessions. This interactive session addresses India’s diplomatic manoeuvring through the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. The discussion will probe key questions such as the challenges for India from the war, the rate of India’s success in protecting its independent interests by not formally condemning Russia and whether India can emerge as an arbiter between Russia and Ukraine.





  • VAdm Anil K Chawla

    VAdm Anil K Chawla

    Former Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief Southern Naval Command

    Instructed by Admiral Anil Kumar Chawla this session aims to focus on the Indo-Pacific as a distinct arena for Indian diplomacy. India’s current Indo-Pacific strategy and the key security challenges in the region will be addressed. It shall answer crucial questions such as how much of India’s Indo-Pacific policy is guided by concerns related to China and how India aims to leverage the Indo Pacific framework to protect its interests in the Indian Ocean Region.


  • Suhasini Haidar

    Suhasini Haidar

    Diplomatic Editor, The Hindu

    In this session Suhasini Haidar will will delve into how the media interprets and subsequently reports developments relating to India’s foreign policy. Key terminologies and its interpretation will be highlighted in this session.


  • Dr. Happymon Jacob

    Dr. Happymon Jacob

    Associate Professor

    In this session Dr.Happymon Jacob will talk about how researchers, experts, and analysts should write about Indian Foreign policy and elaborate on the key tools that can be used to improve both structure and substance.


  • Amb. Rakesh Sood

    Amb. Rakesh Sood

    Former Diplomat

    Amb. Rakesh Sood, the curator of this course will conduct an interactive session to discuss major learnings from the course as well as answer questions that participants may have. 

  • CSDR Gaming Lab

    CSDR Gaming Lab

    Details to be shared with selected participants. 

The applications for this course are now closed. 

The total fee for the course is INR 25000 ( inclusive of 18% GST) for Indian nationals and $500 for foreign nationals.

This course is for students at advanced stages of their Bachelor's and/or Master's degrees, Ph.D. students, mid-career researchers, associate/junior-level foreign diplomatic staff, and anybody interested in understanding the crafting and implementation of India's Foreign Policy.

No. There is no application fee. 

Submission of application does not secure your participation at the course.

The course will be delivered through ZOOM. Each interactive session is around 90 to 120 minutes, with reading material provided to the participants in advance, before each session. Participants will get time to interact with course instructors for a holistic understanding of each topic. The two days of simulation towards the end of the course will require more direct engagement from participants and will be conducted by CSDR – the host organization.

  1. Apply by filling out the form on the course website and uploading all necessary documents
  2. Wait for your application to be evaluated.
  3. Submission of an application does not guarantee participation. CSDR reserves the right of admission to this course.
  4. If your application is successful, you will receive an email with directions on how to pay the fee.
  5. Pay the fee within the deadline mentioned in the email.
  6.  Post Payment of the fee you will get an invoice and a course docket with all necessary information will be emailed to you.

The course begins on the 14th Jan 2023 and ends on the 3rd Feb, 2023. The application period begins on the 22nd Dec 2022 and ends on the 10th of Jan, 2023. 

The number of seats is limited to approximately 45. 

At the end of the course, you receive a completion certificate signed by the course curator. 

The course is to be conducted from the 14th of Jan to the 3rd of Feb, 2023. The details of each session can be found under the 'Structure' section of this page. 

The course comprises 18 live sessions on various topics pertaining to India's Foreign Policy. This first-of-its-kind course shall be delivered by practitioners at the highest level. The course is designed to ensure a sufficient degree of interaction between the participants and course instructors during each session. The limit on the number of seats has been placed with this intention.

Each session, with few exceptions, is to be conducted between 5:30 pm and 7 pm IST. These timings ensure that both students and professionals can attend the sessions following their engagements during the day. 

If you are unable to attend a particular session, you will be provided with a transcript of the course instructor’s remarks during that session. You are entitled to a maximum of four transcripts of missed sessions.

  • Learn About

- General ideas and specific instances that have shaped India’s foreign policy apparatus.

- Institutional frameworks and bureaucratic processes.

- Key drivers and compulsions behind India’s foreign policy.

  • Identify

- Key policy actors and institutions – their roles and responsibilities.

- Causal relationships among a multitude of variables that influence India’s foreign policy.

  • Understand

- The inner workings of the foreign policy decision making in India.

- Where theory meets practice.

- Fundamentals of ‘crisis management’ and Track I Diplomacy.

- The role of domestic politics in India’s foreign policy

  • Explain

- India’s diplomacy in the region and beyond.

- India’s choices at multilateral forums, its strategic partnerships, and outreach.

- India’s crisis response.

  • Anticipate

- The future trajectory of India’s foreign policy.

- Changes in India’s foreign policy in response to geopolitical transformations.

The topic for each session has been selected with the intention of focusing on the practitioner’s experience and insights, extending beyond theoretical understanding. The course aims to shed light on what goes on behind the scenes of India's foreign policymaking, in order to further the participant’s ability to critically analyze policy decisions. Existing courses lean heavily towards historical analysis, without providing the necessary input from a practitioner.

In this regard, the instructors for the course have been carefully selected, to ensure that they bring with them not only immense experience in their respective fields but also an invaluable body of knowledge pertaining to India's foreign policy.

The course is designed to be an interactive experience to facilitate deliberation. This is principally what distinguishes our course from a series of ‘talks’. It ensures that there is a sufficient degree of interaction between the speaker and the participants. The structure of the course, and the flow of sessions, ensure that participants are constantly aware of the inter-relation between different aspects of foreign policymaking.

Our approach is to cut straight to core issues and empirical data in ways that are relevant to diplomatic challenges in the real world. Each module is envisioned to strike a clear balance among the dissemination of essential facts, description of overarching trends, and a focus on the broader significance of specific events. 

Two days of simulation, a detailed discussion of the India-Nepal relations and the US withdrawal from Afghanistan and some sessions on subjects like – War and Diplomacy, India's trade, and climate negotiation are designed to present a holistic view of how Indian foreign policy thinking works. Our carefully curated concise readings for the course are aimed at providing a baseline understanding of key aspects, prior to the commencement of the course.

For each session, you will get a reading list divided into core and secondary readings. These will be uploaded to a common folder on the course drive, and links shared with you. Selected applicants can download these readings before each session. These readings have been put together in direct consultation with the speakers. 

You will need a computer/laptop compatible with Zoom software. You will need to create an account on Zoom using the email id you choose to fill in your application form. You will only be able to attend the sessions after logging into your zoom account. 

  1. Selected candidates are required to pay a one-time non-refundable fee after notification of their selection for the course. The window to make the payment and secure the seat will be 48 hours from the notification.
  2. The total fee for the course is INR 25000 (Inclusive of 18% GST) for Indian nationals and $500 (Inclusive of 18% GST) for foreign nationals. 
  3. A waitlist will be generated and notified to candidates who could not make the final selection. Any selection from the waitlist will be notified within 3 days. The candidate’s name on the waitlist does not guarantee a seat in the course.
  4. All candidates are required to attend a minimum of 14 sessions out of a total number of 18 sessions in the course. In case any candidate fails to meet this requirement, CSDR has the right to abstain from the issuance of a course completion certificate to the candidate. 
  5.  Upon a written request, a candidate is eligible to receive a transcript of the session they have missed. A maximum of four transcripts per candidate can be issued in that regard. Any kind of recording of the session cannot be provided since all sessions will be live.
  6. Any reproduction of the course content or video sessions in any form is prohibited. CSDR reserves the copyright of all the course materials. Any infringement of copyright will invite legal action.
  7. All candidates must be civil in their engagement with the course instructors and maintain the decorum of the online classroom. Any profanity or inappropriate conduct inside the classroom is strictly prohibited and will result in the cancellation of the candidacy (with no refunds). 
  8. The entire course will be conducted online. 
  9. Selected candidates are expected to have a steady internet connection in order to effectively participate in the class. CSDR will not be responsible for any candidate’s failure to attend a session due to problems in internet connectivity. 
  10. During all sessions, selected candidates must join the lectures with their videos turned on.

Write to us at 
We will get back to you promptly. 

Any request for cancellation/refund of fee will only be entertained by the 12th of Jan 2022 (midnight). No cancellation/refund will be allowed after this date.