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 analyse 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. 


  • Amb. Chandrashekhar Dasgupta

    Amb. Chandrashekhar Dasgupta

    Former Diplomat

    Delivered by Amb. Chandrashekhar Dasgupta, the primary objective of this session shall be to explore the evolution of warfare and the contemporary practice of international diplomacy.


  • Prof. Sumit Ganguly

    Prof. Sumit Ganguly

    Distinguished Professor at Indiana University

    Delivered by Prof. Sumit Ganguly, 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, directive principles of the Indian Constitution, and significant aspects of the Constituent Assembly’s debates 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. Vijay Gokhale

    Amb. Vijay Gokhale

    Former Foreign Secretary

    Delivered by Amb. Vijay Gokhale, this session shall explore the methods of diplomatic communication, and how they hold up against India’s biggest regional neighbour – China. It shall focus on the tools India employs to respond to China’s Wolf Warrior diplomacy and the challenges faced. It shall address how diplomacy is utilised for conflict management and de-escalation; the opportunities and obstacles that arise due to China’s increasing aggression.


  • Amb. Talmiz Ahmed

    Amb. Talmiz Ahmed

    Former Diplomat

    In this session, Amb. Talmiz Ahmed shall focus on India’s diplomatic dealings with states to its West. Apart from addressing the challenges faced in its diplomatic relationship with Pakistan and how India addresses them, it shall delve into the dynamics of diplomacy with West Asian states such as Iran, Israel, UAE, and KSA. It shall also seek to address fresh diplomatic challenges arising from Afghanistan and how India manoeuvres through them. 


  • Amb. Leela Ponappa

    Amb. Leela Ponappa

    Former Deputy National Security Advisor

    Following the tone of Day 7, this session will follow it with a focus on India’s extended Eastern neighbourhood, and explain the strategic significance of the region and trace its salient features. The session shall explore the contemporary dynamics of India’s relations with Southeast Asian nations, the future of this relationship in light of the global focus on the Indo-Pacific, and India’s adoption of minilateralism. It also seeks to highlight renewed areas of importance and influence of regional arrangements such as the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue on India’s foreign policy.

  • Amb. Syed Akbaruddin

    Amb. Syed Akbaruddin

    Former Diplomat

    In this session, Amb. Syed Akbaruddin 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 communication. Additionally, it shall explore other instruments of diplomatic influence such as the Indian Navy and its military diplomacy in the Indian Ocean and beyond. It shall also address the manner in which India executed its ‘vaccine diplomacy’ during the pandemic. 


  • Amb. Shyam Saran

    Amb. Shyam Saran

    Former Foreign Secretary

    This session will focus on India’s relations with its immediate neighbours, outline the dynamics and complexities of diplomacy in the region, especially in the contemporary context. It shall trace the legacy of the Raj in such dealings, its evolution post independence, and explore the differences between engagement with regional and extra-regional states.

  • Prof. C. Raja Mohan

    Prof. C. Raja Mohan

    Director of Institute of South Asian Studies, NUS

    Focusing on how India balances its relationship with major global powers – USA, Russia, China, this session by Prof. C Raja Mohan shall analyse the diplomatic tools India utilises to maintain its relationships with these states and balance them. It shall also explore how India diplomatically secures its interests with Russia and USA, to deal with China.



  • Amb. Mohan Kumar

    Amb. Mohan Kumar

    Former Diplomat

    Delivered by Amb. Mohan Kumar, this initial session in the series on diplomatic successes shall analyse India’s landmark trade agreements with states and explain India’s approach to trade negotiations at both bilateral and multilateral levels. It shall take on specific challenges such as the RCEP as well as general questions pertaining to supply chain resilience, and the challenges India faces at multilateral forums. 


  • Amb. Chandrashekhar Dasgupta

    Amb. Chandrashekhar Dasgupta

    Former Diplomat

    The second in the series on diplomatic successes, this session by Amb. Chandrashekhar Dasgupta shall seek to interpret India’s traditional approach to climate summits, and explain its adopted positions, interests, and its strategy at the COP26 in Glasgow. It shall also address how India communicates its displeasure with Western nations who scapegoat developing states for emission levels, and its general attitude towards contemporary climate change agreements. 


  • Amb. Rakesh Sood

    Amb. Rakesh Sood

    Former Diplomat

    Delivered by Amb. Rakesh Sood, this last session in the series on diplomatic successes, shall focus on India’s nuclear doctrine, strategic lessons learnt thus far, its place in the global non-proliferation regime, and the impact of potential Chinese vertical proliferation on its doctrine. It shall also explore the state of India’s civil nuclear cooperation with other states, more than a decade since the 123 Agreement with the United States. 


  • Amb. Ranjit Rae

    Amb. Ranjit Rae

    Former Diplomat

    This session, delivered by Amb. Ranjit Rae, shall focus on how India manages diplomatic crises and shall use Nepal as its primary case study. It shall adumbrate the primary diplomatic challenges India has traditionally faced, and explore how its relationship with Nepal has held up against Chinese interests. It shall also address the manner in which India seeks to counter the threat of greater Chinese influence on Nepal, and the future of India-Nepal ties in general.


  • Amb. Vivek Katju & Amb. Rakesh Sood

    Amb. Vivek Katju & Amb. Rakesh Sood

    Former Diplomats

    Delivered jointly by Amb. Rakesh Sood and Amb. Vivek Katju, this session on Afghanistan shall enumerate the diplomatic challenges emerging out of it, following recent events. It shall outline the past patterns of India’s thinking during its dealings with Afghanistan since the late 1990s. It shall also take the opportunity to address India’s stance on themes such as military intervention and the promotion of democracy abroad. 


  • Ms. Suhasini Haidar

    Ms. Suhasini Haidar

    National Editor and Diplomatic Affairs Editor, The Hindu

    Delivered by Ms. Suhasini Haidar, this moderated session shall explain how the media interprets and subsequently reports developments relating to India’s foreign policy. 


  • Amb. Shivshankar Menon

    Amb. Shivshankar Menon

    Former Diplomat

    This final session, delivered by Amb. Shivshankar Menon, shall focus on the prominent aspects of India’s foreign policy today and the challenges and opportunities emerging from it. It shall explore both regional and international factors that shape India’s foreign policy, including its position in the Indo-Pacific. It shall seek to explain India’s primary strategic direction, and address key aspects to be considered while crafting a foreign policy for the future. 


  • CSDR Gaming Lab

    CSDR Gaming Lab

    Details to be shared with selected participants.

The applications for this course are now closed. Follow our Twitter handle to stay updated about the next batch. 

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

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 22nd Jan 2022 and ends on the 13th Feb, 2022. The application period begins on the 10thof Jan 2022 and ends on the 20th of Jan, 2022. 

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 22nd of Jan to the 13th of Feb, 2022. 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 21st of Jan 2022 (midnight). No cancellation/refund will be allowed after this date.