SOAS University of London

Department of Politics and International Studies

International Relations of South Asia

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Taught in:
Term 2

International Relations of South Asia will give students a broad and comprehensive introduction to this subject. Beginning with conventional IR theory disciplinary frames, it will explore inter-state relations in the South Asian region including the history of conflict between India and Pakistan, the nature of Indian dominance/hegemony over the South Asian region, the place of Afghanistan in conceptualisations of ‘South Asia’, as well as the security perspectives of smaller states in the region including Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. Other topics in the course will examine non-conventional security issues including questions of economic and environmental security posed by the sharing of international rivers and climate change, as well as the human security issues provoked by ethnic and other forms of conflict in the region. The course will investigate key questions of international political economy including economic liberalization, intra-regional trade, and regional integration.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:

  • Identify and appraise concepts in International Relations relevant to the understanding of politics in South Asia
  • Analyse critically historical accounts of the development of inter-state relations in South Asia
  • Develop an appreciation for the ways in which non-state actors and identities can intervene in, and impact, the international relations of South Asia
  • Conceptualise and prepare in written form arguments based on the analysis of different problems in the international relations of South Asia
  • Develop specific research skills in areas of international politics and South Asian area studies
  • Identify core puzzles within the theory and practice of IR in South Asia 


1 hour Lecture per week

1 hour Tutorial per week

Scope and syllabus

  1. Regions in IR; What is 'South Asia'
  2. Non-alignment: from Bandung to NAM
  3. India & Pakistan
  4. Cold War in South Asia
  5. China in South Asia
  6. South Asia in a nuclear world
  7. South Asia and global neoliberalism
  8. Genocide and humanitarian intervention in South Asia
  9. South Asia & the Indo-Pacific
  10. South Asian Diasporas

Method of assessment

Assessment is 100% coursework (one 2000 word essay and one 3000 word essay).

Suggested reading

Same as current IRSA (30-credit) module.All available via library


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules