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. TCA Raghavan

    Amb. TCA Raghavan

    Former Diplomat

    Amb. TCA Raghavan will explore the origins of India’s foreign policy apparatus. This session will analyze colonial sinews, inherited structures, and institutional predecessors of the MEA. It will focus on how India’s engagement with the international order and institutions shaped its foreign policy apparatus to explain the present structure of the MEA. In addition, key individuals and events that primarily shaped India’s foreign policy structures will be identified. 


  • Prof. Kanti Prasad Bajpai

    Prof. Kanti Prasad Bajpai

    Director, Centre on Asia and Globalisation and Wilmar Professor of Asian Studies

    Delivered by Prof. Kanti Bajpai, the primary objective of this session is to explore ideas that have endured in India’s foreign policy thinking. These ideas will include non-alignment, strategic autonomy, nuclear minimalism, civilian control over the military, strategic restraint, and directive principles of the Indian Constitution pertaining to foreign policy.

  • Amb. Vivek Katju

    Amb. Vivek Katju

    Former Diplomat

    In this session Ambassador Vivek Katju will examine the institutional apparatus of the MEA to understand its organizational framework. His lecture will cover the institutional mechanisms and bureaucratic processes that shape the MEA’s functioning today. He will explain how various divisions in the MEA interact with each other, with other foreign missions in India and will elaborate on the dynamics between these divisions and other branches of government such as PMO, R&AW and other Ministries (MOD, MOC, MOF, etc.).

  • Amb. Navtej Sarna

    Amb. Navtej Sarna

    Former Diplomat

    Amb. Sarna will discuss India’s diplomatic missions in other countries and representation at international institutions and forums, to explain their functions and highlight the mechanisms for diplomatic outreach and communications.

  • M K Narayanan

    M K Narayanan

    Former National Security Advisor

    In this conversational session, MK Narayanan will be interviewed by Amb. Rakesh Sood. Through incisive questions, this session will look at how India manages diplomatic crises. Two incidents/cases - The 2008 Mumbai Attack & The Sri Lankan Tamil Ethnic Crisis - will form the pivot of this conversation to make sense of successful de-escalation strategies, crisis communication, and inter-ministerial collaboration.


  • Adm. Arun Prakash

    Adm. Arun Prakash

    Former Chief of Naval Staff

    Admiral Arun Prakash will cover the military component of India’s diplomatic outreach and cooperation. His lecture will position military diplomacy within the context of India's foreign policy. He will discuss the impact of civil-military relations on military diplomacy, Navies as instruments of diplomacy, and the future of military diplomacy. The lecture will also discuss cases of India’s employment of military diplomacy in its neighbourhood.


  • Amb. Chandrashekhar Dasgupta

    Amb. Chandrashekhar Dasgupta

    Former Diplomat

    In this session, Amb. Dasgupta will discuss the critical interplay of diplomatic and military initiatives of the 1971 India-Pakistan War. The lecture will focus on the critical role of India's larger foreign policy objectives, diplomatic efforts to counter deeply-rooted objections to secessionist movements in the international community, and how India secured Soviet assurance of vetoing US moves to impose a ceasefire before a decisive outcome on the battlefield.

  • Amb. Rakesh Sood

    Amb. Rakesh Sood

    Former Diplomat

    Amb. Sood will take participants behind the scenes of India’s diplomatic efforts and successful negotiations that led to the inking of the 2007 Civil Nuclear Agreement. The session will focus on this diplomatic success to identify  a variety of negotiation strategies.

  • Amb. Chandrashekhar Dasgupta

    Amb. Chandrashekhar Dasgupta

    Former Diplomat

    In this session Amb. Dasgupta will discuss the negotiations leading to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. He will stress on India's role in these negotiations to analyse India's green diplomacy. 


  • Amb. (Dr) Mohan Kumar

    Amb. (Dr) Mohan Kumar

    Former Diplomat

    Amb. (Dr) Mohan Kumar will look at how India conducts its Trade Negotiations. By analysing India's approach to FTA's (such as RCEP), and the evolution of India's foreign trade policies in response to global supply chains, this session will cover the most important aspect of foreign policy in a globalized world. 


  • Amb. Nirupama Rao

    Amb. Nirupama Rao

    Former Foreign Secretary

    In this conversational session, Ambassador Nirupama Rao will focus on the ‘grammar of diplomacy’ i.e. how does the diplomatic core communicate India's interests and policies at home and abroad. The conversation will also dwell on crisis communication, registering objections at international forums, and the changing nature of diplomatic communication and public outreach on social media.

  • Alok Joshi

    Alok Joshi

    Former RAW Chief

    In this conversational session Mr. Alok Joshi will talk about the intricate yet unexplored relationship between intelligence agencies and the foreign policy making apparatus in India. 


  • Suhasini Haidar

    Suhasini Haidar

    National Editor and Diplomatic Affairs Editor, The Hindu

    In this conversational session, Suhasini Haidar will focus on how the media covers Indian foreign policy. The session will provide insights into the challenges faced by journalists on the MEA beat and ways of deciphering, writing, and discussing India's foreign policy.

  • Prof. C Raja Mohan

    Prof. C Raja Mohan

    Director, Institute of South Asian Studies, NUS

    Prof. C Raja Mohan will focus on India’s relations with its neighbours. This session will outline the strategic significance, and trace their ever-changing dynamics, of the region from India’s point of view. It will explore the impact of the 'Raj' legacy on India's regional policy, contemporary dynamics of India’s relations with its near abroad (South Asia, West Asia, South East Asia), the future of India's engagement with the region, and renewed areas of importance for India.

  • Amb. Shivshankar Menon

    Amb. Shivshankar Menon

    Former National Security Advisor

    Amb. Shivshankar Menon's lecture will explore India’s geopolitical predicament in the current international order. It will do so on two levels - regionally, the nature of India’s rivalry with China both in its economic and strategic significance; and internationally, understanding the nature of the US-China security competition and deliberating on India’s role. Additionally, larger questions of balance of interests and great power politics will be explored.

  • CSDR Team

    CSDR Team

    Details to be shared with selected participants. 

  • TBC


The applications for this course are now closed. 

This course is for students at advanced stages of their University degrees, mid-career researchers, associate/junior-level foreign diplomatic staff, and anybody interested in understanding the crafting and implementation of Indian foreign policy.

No. There is no application fee. 

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

The total fee for the course is INr 22510 ( inclusive of 18% GST) for Indian nationals, and $462 (inclusive of 18% GST) for foreign nationals.

The course will be delivered through a learning management system – Microsoft Teams. 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 simulation sessions towards the end of the course will require more direct engagement from participants, and will be conducted by CSDR – the host organisation.

  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 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 by 5th May 2021 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 10th of May, 2021 and ends on the 30th of May, 2021. The application period begins on the 17thof April and ends on the 3rd of May, 2021. 

The number of seats is limited to approximately 40. 

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

The course is to be conducted from the 10th to the 30th of May, 2021. 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 Indian foreign policy making. This first-of-its-kind course shall be delivered by practitioners at the highest level, such as former Ambassadors, Foreign Secretaries and National Security Advisors. 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

    You will also be able to:

  • 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 Indian foreign policymaking, in order to further the participant’s ability to critically analyse policy decisions. Existing courses on foreign policy 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 Indian 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, ensures 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 simulations, detailed discussion of 2-3 cases and some interactive sessions on subjects like – ‘Vocabulary and grammar of diplomacy’ & ‘The role of ‘intelligence’ in diplomacy and foreign policy’, are designed to present a holistic view of how the MEA 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 you account on Microsoft Teams. 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 Microsoft Teams. For hardware requirements please refer to


Downloading the Microsoft Teams desktop app is recommended. Please go to the following link to download 


You will need to create an account on Microsoft Teams using the email id you choose to fill in your application form.

  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 72 hours from the notification.
  2. The total fee for the course is INR 22510 (Inclusive of 18% GST) for Indian nationals, and $462 (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. 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 issuance of 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 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 7th of May 2021 (midnight). No cancellation/refund will be allowed after this date.