The Centre for South Asian Studies (CSAS) is an independent, non-political, secular, think tank based in Kathmandu, Nepal. Dr. Nishchalnath Pandey, director at CSAS was interviewed by Dr. Annapoorna Ravichander, editor at large for South Asia at On Think Tanks.
Dr. Annapoorna Ravichander: Why and how did you join the Centre for South Asian Studies?
Dr. Nishchalnath Pandey: The Centre for South Asian Studies (CSAS) was founded in 2008 as an independent think tank in Nepal. CSAS is also the convener of the Consortium of South Asian Think Tanks (COSATT), which has some of the top think tanks in the region as members. The CSAS and COSATT hold seminars and conferences on issues facing South Asia. We also publish books, some of which are in the curricula of master programmes at various universities. Our books are focused around connectivity in South Asia, youth radicalisation, energy security, amongst others.
AR: How do get your funding?
NP: Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (Germany) supports the COSATT network. We also seek support from donors to conduct other conferences. In the past, CSAS has partnered with the EU Commission in Nepal and the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict (GPPAC) in the Netherlands. CSAS is also a partner institution of the Near East South Asia (NESA) Network, which is under the National Defence University (NDU) in Washington D.C.
AR: In your opinion, what is the future of funding for think tanks like yours? Is domestic funding a good alternative?
NP: Funding is a real challenge. Without regular government or private funding it is difficult for think tanks to survive in our region. Domestic funding is a challenge because there are not many private donors within Nepal that are willing to fund research or finance publications.
AR: What is your institutional structure today?
NP: We have researchers, account officers and interns at the CSAS.
AR: What projects are you working on?
NP: We are planning events to commemorate 10 years of operation of CSAS, and we hope to bring leaders and representatives of our partnering think tanks to Kathmandu for these events.