Inauguration of the Institute of Foreign Policy Studies
On 25th February 2010, the M.Phil programme of the Institute of Foreign Policy Studies (IFPS), Calcutta University, was inaugurated by the Sri A.K. Pandey, IFS, Special Secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. Located in the new wing for research institutes at the Shahid Kshudiram Shiksha Prangan (Alipore Campus) of the University, the IFPS happens to be the only institute in the country where an M.Phil programme on Foreign Policy is being offered.
The IFPS is an autonomous centre devised for the study of international relations, with the Indian foreign policy. Funded by the MEA, Govt. of India, the institute purports to create a pool of foreign policy specialists capable of offering advice on matters pertaining to India’s international relations. The M.Phil. programme offered by the institute involves a coursework where the students would be exposed to both practitioners of foreign policy (serving and retired diplomats) and academic specialists on various aspects of International Relations in general, and Indian Foreign Policy in particular, from the world over. Additionally, there is provision for associating Visiting Fellows with the work of the Institute who are meant to assist both the coursework as also producing occasional papers, monographs and presumably even policy briefs. The Institute has already been earmarked for developing regional expertise with reference to the Govt. of India’s Look East Policy, and that towards West Asia.
Presiding over the inauguration of the M.Phil. programme, Prof. Suranjan Das, the Vice-Chancellor of Calcutta University, and the Director of the IFPS, informed the audience of the agenda that the institute has set for itself, and gave a glimpse of the manner in which it proposes to address the task ahead. He pointed out the significance of foreign policy studies in academics and that the Calcutta University is the first to bring together both the academic and the professional approaches into its programme. He exhorted the first batch of students enrolled for the M.Phil programme to make the most of the phenomenally rich library and information resources available at the Institute courtesy the generous patronage of the MEA.
The Chief Guest at the inauguration, Sri A K Pandey inaugurated the M.Phil Programme of the IFPS. The University Librarian Mr. S. Sarkar then showed Mr. Pandey the library and electronic information resource arranged by the Institute for access by the students, the research fellows and the faculty. Mr. A K Pandey expressed his satisfaction at the arrangements and the infrastructure put at the disposal of those associated with it. He expressed his optimism that the Institute would be able to develop the much-needed interface between academic and practical dimensions of foreign policy.
The Pro-Vice Chancellor (Academic), Calcutta University, Prof. Dhrubajyoti Chattopadhyay expressed the hope that the Institute would prove worthy of the challenge ahead of it. The Chairman of the session and University Syndicate member Prof. Ashis Roy expressed satisfaction at the manner in which the Institute was set up and everything was arranged in such a short time.
Prof. D.P.Dey, Secretary UCAC, Calcutta University, thanked all the people associated with the Institute for their efforts in launching the first ever M.Phil. programme on foreign policy studies at the Calcutta University.