Pathfinder inks a MOU with The United Service Institution of India (USI)
Posted on July 3rd, 2016

Pathfinder Foundation

Research on Security & Strategic Issues and Exchanges to be the focus

The recently established ‘Centre for Indo-Lanka Initiatives’ (CILI) of the Pathfinder Foundation (PF) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with The United Service Institution of India (USI) based in New Delhi, founded nearly one and half centuries ago in 1870.

Pathfinder Foundation Chairman Bernard Goonetilleke and Director of USI Lieutenant General P K Singh PVSM, AVSM, (Retd.), former GOC-in C South Western Command, signed the MOU.

USI is the oldest think tank in India. It has niche expertise in national security strategy, art of warfare, trans-border security challenges, defence planning, economic development, maritime trade and blue economy, international relations etc. The USI is an autonomous institution with a membership exceeding 15,000. It conducts research projects on multi-dimensional themes and hosts national and international seminars, Round Table Discussions, workshops and lectures by eminent speakers from India and abroad.  It has established robust bilateral and multi-lateral programmes with institutions at the national and international level. Over the years, the USI has succeeded in bringing the strategic community and policy-makers on one platform for informed debates and reflection on contemporary and evolving national security and economic issues in a global backdrop.

The Pathfinder Foundation (PF) is an independent, not for profit Sri Lankan institution focusing on research, advocacy, consultancy, strategic & security issues and building partnerships with like minded foreign institutions to promote people-to-people relations. Since its inception, PF has undertaken research work on these core areas and has carried out substantive Track II programmes to strengthen Sri Lanka’s bilateral relations with China, India and several other countries. In 2015, PF established ‘China-Sri Lanka Cooperation Studies Centre’ in collaboration with the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies (SIIS), and the ‘Centre for Indo-Lanka Initiatives’ aimed at further improving bilateral relations with India and China. In the conduct of its activities, PF works with a number of institutions in India such as, the Vivekananda International Foundation, Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis, Carnegie India etc.

Through this initiative, both institutions expect to work together to engage in joint research projects, and contribute to policy development processes in the two countries, exchange outputs and publish research work relating to strategic studies jointly undertaken by the two institutions. The MOU in general would serve to build academic and scholarly ties between the two institutions on security issues and national and international developments.

Following a meeting Mr. Milinda Moragoda, Founder of PF had with Mr. Ajit Kumar Doval in New Delhi in early 2014, then Chairman of the Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF), who is the current National Security Advisor to Prime Minister Modi, Pathfinder Foundation signed a Memorandum of Intent with VIF, a leading international relations and strategic studies think-tank based in New Delhi. This relationship facilitated exchange of visits and publication of joint papers on issues of importance to promote bilateral relations between India and Sri Lanka.

In February this year, PF entered in to another MOU with the Institute for Defence Studies and Analysis (IDSA), India’s leading strategic studies institute. IDSA’s governing Executive Council is headed by India’s Defence Minister and consists of both the Secretary of External Affairs and the Defence Secretary. The United Service Institute is the third prestigious think-tank with which Pathfinder Foundation has entered in to formal arrangements for joint work.

Both USI and PF plan to engage in a unique tri-lateral relationship with the Sichuan University of Chengdu, the second largest university in China. This relationship would complement Pathfinder Foundation’s own network of relations with several other Chinese institutions such as Chinese Peoples’ Association for Peace and Disarmament (CPAPD), Chinese Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR) and Boao Forum for Asia, in addition to Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (CIIS).

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