Geopolitics in the Himalayas: Towards a British strategy

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17 January 2023 at 18:00 19:00 GMT

Britain’s interests in the Himalayan region are not what they once were. However, attempts by the Chinese Communist Party to alter the borders by infringing upon the territory of others and exploiting the region’s resources for political leverage demand the United Kingdom’s (UK) attention.

As Chinese power expands around the Indo-Pacific rimlands, it has also pushed down through the world’s highest mountain range. Often considered distant, peripheral and largely impenetrable, the Himalayas marks the northern frontier of the Indo-Pacific. From land grabs in Bhutan and the leveraging of water flows along key rivers in the Himalayas, to preventing sanctuary for Tibetans and others, the People’s Republic of China has applied significant pressure to the region in recent years.

This event celebrates the launch of a Policy Paper written by Gray Sergeant titled ‘Geopolitics in the Himalayas: Towards a British strategy’.

By kind invitation of Lord Risby, you are invited to attend a panel event to discuss the first geopolitical study of the Himalayan region to be undertaken in the UK for some time. The panel will include Robert Barnett, Professorial Research Associate at School of Oriental and African Studies, Prof. Alexander Evans OBE, Professor in practice School of Public Policy at the London School of Economics, Dr Isabel Hilton, Founder and Senior Advisor at China Dialogue Trust, Eerishika Pankaj Head of Research at Organisation for Research on China and Asia, and Gray Sergeant, Associate Fellow at the Council on Geostrategy, where they will discuss geopolitics in the Himalayas and the need for a British strategy for the region.


Robert Barnett

  • Professorial Research Associate, School of Oriental and African Studies
    Robert Barnett is a Professorial Research Associate at SOAS, University of London, and an Affiliate Lecturer at the Lau China Institute, King’s College, London. He founded the Modern Tibetan Studies Program at Columbia University in New York, where he was Director of Modern Tibetan Studies and an Adjunct Professor of Contemporary Tibetan Studies for 19 years.

Dr Alexander Evans OBE

  • Professor in practice, School of Public Policy, London School of Economics
    Professor Alexander Evans OBE is at the School of Public Policy at the London School of Economics. A career diplomat, he has been Deputy and Acting High Commissioner to both India and (briefly) Pakistan, an adviser to the Prime Minister in 10 Downing Street, Foreign Office Director Cyber, and a senior adviser at the US Department of State. He led the UN Security Council expert mission on Al Qaida, Daesh and the Taliban in New York and earlier worked for UNAMA in Afghanistan.

Dr Isabel Hilton

  • Founder and Senior Advisor, China Dialogue Trust
    Isabel Hilton is a London based writer and broadcaster and founder in 2006 of the China Dialogue Trust (CDT). She now serves as senior advisor to the CDT, which publishes a fully bilingual Chinese English website devoted to building a shared approach on climate change and environmental issues, as well as potential conflict in the Himalaya-Hindu-Kush. Isabel studied Chinese in Edinburgh and China before embarking on a career in broadcast and print journalism that included authoring and co-authoring several books, reporting from Latin America, Europe and South and East Asia, working for The Sunday Times, The Guardian, the BBC, STV, The Independent, The New Yorker and many others. She is a Visiting Professor at the Lau Institute, King’s College, London, was appointed OBE in 2008, serves as a Senior Advisor to the China Council, and holds two honorary doctorates.

Eerishika Pankaj

  • Head of Research, Organisation for Research on China and Asia
    Eerishika Pankaj is the Director of New Delhi based think-tank, the Organisation for Research on China and Asia (ORCA), which focuses on decoding domestic Chinese politics and its impact on Beijing’s foreign policymaking. She is also an Editorial and Research Assistant to the Series Editor for Routledge Series on Think Asia; a Young Leader in the 2020 cohort of the Pacific Forum’s Young Leaders Programme; a Commissioning Editor with E-International Relations for their Political Economy section; a Member of the Indo-Pacific Circle and a Council Member of the WICCI’s India-EU Business Council.

Gray Sergeant

  • Associate Fellow, Council on Geostrategy
    Gray Sergeant is currently completing an MPhil/PhD in the Department of International History at the London School of Economics (LSE). His research focuses on Anglo-American diplomatic relations towards the People’s Republic of China during the early Cold War. He previously studied International Relations and History at the LSE before completing a Masters in Chinese Politics at SOAS. He has spent time in Taiwan, first as a Mandarin language student at National Taiwan University and then as a Human Rights and Democracy Fellow at the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy. Currently, he is the Chair of Hong Kong Watch.


Lord Risby

  • Chair of the Advisory Council, Council on Geostrategy
    Lord Risby was MP for Bury St Edmunds from 1992 to 1997 and for West Suffolk to 2010. Parliamentary Private Secretary in the Northern Ireland Office, he was subsequently Shadow Minister for DCMS, Foreign Affairs and the Treasury. He was then created a life Peer in 2010. He is the Co-Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Ukraine and is the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy for Algeria and Lebanon.



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