The South Asia Initiative

The South Asia Initiative

The South Asia Initiative (SAI) is a platform for research, analysis and outreach on the countries of South Asia, and the relationship between the region and the wider world. The Initiative aims to be a node for Swedish expertise on the region, and Sweden’s approaches to it. SAI strives to be relevant to those professionally or in other ways actively engaging with India and the South Asian region. The Initiative is co-hosted by the Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI) and the Swedish South Asian Studies Network (SASNET), at Lund University.

Project closed in december 2021

South Asia is connected through languages, shared histories and religions. It is home to about a fifth of the world’s population and a host of complex political relations and security challenges, as well as great economic promise. With the changing role of Asian powers in world affairs, increased knowledge and awareness about the South Asian region is of great importance. SAI focuses on India and dynamics connected to India’s rise, closely follows the political and societal trends in Bangladesh, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and monitors Afghanistan, Bhutan and Nepal. The activities of the South Asia Initiative are organised around three broad themes:

  • Norms and democracy in South Asia
  • The Indo-Pacific
  • Europe’s engagement with India


SAI conducts academic research, commissioned studies, and contribute actively to international networks. The Initiative communicates with the general public and targeted audiences through seminars and forums, media engagements, expert meetings and written output.


Previous publications:


South Asia’s water crisis

The SAI Podcast

South Asia is suffering from drought, floods and polluted water bodies. What’s the way forward? In this podcast this is adressed by Henrik Chetan Aspengren, acting head for the Asia program at UI, Phu Doma Lama researcher affiliated to SASNET, and Aditi Mukherji from the International Water Management Institute in New Delhi.

Towards a renewable energy boom in India?

The SAI Podcast

South Asia Initiative’s special Climate Lens South Asia is discussing the clean energy boom with Ajay Mathur, director general for Teri, The Energy and resource Institute, Kanika Chawla director for Energy Finance at Council on Energy, Environment and Water and Axel Nordenstam, analyst at the Asia program at UI.

How can South Asia get cleaner air?

The SAI Podcast

Many of the world’s most polluted cities are in South Asia. These countries have been trying to battle pollution for years, but yet failed to permanently improve the air quality. SAI’s special “Climate Lens South Asia” talked to Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director at Centre for Science in New Delhi, associate professor Petter Ljungman from Karolinska Institutet and Hanna Geschewski from SASNET, about the way forward.

Coronavirus update from Bangladesh

The SASNET podcast, May 22, 2020

How does the pandemic affect the society, Rohingya refugees and garment factories and what measures are taken by the government?

Nirjhar Mazumder from The Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI) is interviewed in the SASNET Podcast.


Nygamla strömningar i indisk politik

The UI Podcast, 20 April 2020

Hur mår egentligen Indiens demokrati, och vad innebär de hindunationalistiska strömningarna i den indiska politiken?
Det är några av de frågor som Henriette Tjäder, associerad medarbetare vid UI reder ut i denna podd.


Indiens hantering av coronakrisen

The UI Podcast, 3 April 2020

Hur har indisk politik påverkats av Coronakrisen, vad sägs i den inrikespolitiska debatten, och vad ser vi för trender vad gäller Indiens internationella roll och ambitioner?
Det är några av frågorna som UI:s analytiker Axel Nordenstam reder ut i den här podden.


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