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  • Zainab Akhter

    Research Analyst
    +91 11 2671 7983

    Dr Zainab Akhter has a PhD from the Centre for International Politics, Organization, and Disarmament (CIPOD), School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University. She also has an MPhil from the same university as well as a post graduate degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from the University of Kashmir. Zainab was earlier a Research Officer with the Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies (IPCS), and has also worked with the Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA) as a Research Associate and at India Institute as a researcher. She has interned with the Hindustan Times and has been awarded the Ladakh Women Writers Award for the year 2008 by Charkha, a Delhi-based NGO. She was selected for the India-Pakistan Legislative Fellowship 2017 by the US Government and was placed as the India Legislative Fellow at Hudson Institute, a think tank based in Washington DC.

    Her areas of research interest are Soft Power, Cultural Diplomacy, India-Pakistan relations, CBMs, people-to-people diplomacy, Jammu and Kashmir (with special focus on Ladakh). She has extensively travelled in Pakistan and Baltistan. She is part of the Editorial Team for the Journal of International Association of Ladakh Studies, a member of the International Association of Ladakh Studies (IALS), Communities without Boundaries International, an international nongovernment organization that works to build peace and Women’s Regional Network, a network of women civil society leaders working together to advance women’s rights and regional peace in South Asia. She has presented papers in various national and international conferences and has published research papers and articles in journals, websites and newspapers on strategic issues related to Pakistan, India-Pakistan relations, Gilgit-Baltistan, Kashmir and Ladakh.  

    Her journal articles include: “India-Pakistan Relations: Efficacy of Culture,” Millennial Asia: An International Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 7, No. 2, 2016; “Indo-Pak Diplomacy: Modi’s Pakistan Policy,” Mainstream, Vol. 54, No. 9, 2016; “The Strategic Importance of the Siachen Glacier for India,” Indian Defence Review, February 2016.

    She has also reviewed a book titled Conflict in Jammu & Kashmir: Impact on Polity, Society, and Economy, which was published in Book Review, Vol. 36, No. 9, 2012. Her latest publications are In Pakistan’s Tryst with Democracy Shadow of Military looms large, published in Daily O, 18 August 2018 and Pakistan and the Politics of CPEC: A Rethink on the Anvil, published in South Asian Voices (SAV), 21 October 2018.

    Select Publications

    • Research Assistant, Manohar Parrikar IDSA, Dr Zainab Akhter’s article ‘Climate Change & the Himalayas: Time for a New Sustainable Tourism Strategy’ has been published in the Sunday Special of Rising Kashmir, on 27 August 2023.

      The need of the hour is a revised climate policy or a sustainable tourism strategy for the mountain regions, which must impose strict limits on a number of visitors, provide universal basic income to the local population, and invest in ecological restoration. Bhutan-style policy needs to be adopted or these areas will be destroyed, says Dr Akhter.

      August 27, 2023
      IDSA News
    • Research Assistant, Manohar Parrikar IDSA, Dr Zainab Akhter’s review of Tilak Devasher’s book ‘The Pashtuns: A Contested History’ has been published in Rising Kashmir Newspaper on 30 April 2023.

      Read Complete Article [+]

      April 30, 2023
      IDSA News
    • Research Analyst, Manohar Parrikar IDSA, Dr Zainab Akhter’s article ‘Assessing the Human Impact of the India-China Border Dispute’ has been published by South Asian Voices (SAV) on 24 October 2022.

      Despite assurances by both governments and many rounds of disengagement talks, the LAC remains tense and the stalemate continues, adversely affecting the livelihoods of border dwellers and herders along the border, says Dr Akhter.

      Read Complete Articel [+]

      October 24, 2022
      IDSA News
    • Strategic Analysis
    • Research Analyst, Manohar Parrikar IDSA, Dr. Zainab Akhter’s chapter ‘India-Pakistan Cross LOC Connectivity: Bridging the Gap between Ladakh and Baltistan by Invoking the ‘Balti Culture’ has been published in Ashish Shukla’s Edited Book ‘Gilgit-Balistan Under Pakistan’s Occupation’.

      Read Complete Article [PDF]

      January 24, 2022
      IDSA News
    • Research Analyst, Manohar Parrikar IDSA, Dr. Zainab Akhter contributed a chapter titled “India-Pakistan Cross-LoC Connectivity: Bridging the Gap between Ladakh and Baltistan by Invoking the ‘Balti Culture’”, has been published in the book, ‘Gilgit-Baltistan under Pakistan's Occupation’, edited by Ashish Shukla (KW Publisher, 2021).

      Read More [+]

      August 02, 2021
      IDSA News
    • Imran Khan’s overemphasis on further mainstreaming the religious education might result in increased conflict between his government and the opposition and also the civil society in Pakistan.

      June 01, 2021
      IDSA Comments
    • Research Analyst, Manohar Parrikar IDSA, Dr. Zainab Akhter’s commentary ‘Imran Khan’s Rant on ‘Kashmir’ After Judicial Snub’ has been published by All India Radio (AIR) World Service, an external services division of AIR, on March 25, 2021.

      March 25, 2021
      IDSA News
    • Research Analyst, Manohar Parrikar IDSA, Dr. Zainab Akhter’s article, ‘India-Pakistan Cross-cultural Connectivity: The Baltis of Ladakh & Baltistan’, has been published in the Journal of Himalayan & Central Asian Studies, (Pages 51-65), Volume 24, Number 4, October-December 2020 Issue.

      With the recent creation of Ladakh as a new Union Territory and the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor, the Balti people of Ladakh and Baltistan are hopeful that things might change, writes Dr. Akhter.

      March 15, 2021
      IDSA News
    • Even as the India-Pakistan ceasefire decision on the LoC is in effect, India has affirmed that there would not be any let-up in its counter-terrorism efforts.

      March 12, 2021
      IDSA Comments