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Sambandh: Connecting South Asia

Sambandh is Brookings India’s Regional Connectivity Initiative. Constantino Xavier and his young team of researchers at Brookings India conduct data-driven study and analysis to understand India’s links with her neighbours in the region. On the 31st of July, the team sat down for a virtual, informal discussion with Ambassador Rao and Aditi Bharatee, about all things The South Asian Symphony Foundation (SASF).

The discussion traced the origins of the SASF and its close links with Ambassador Rao’s own professional and personal journey. Having served as a diplomat in Vienna, Colombo, Washington, Moscow, and Lima and from her work in the Ministry of External Affairs on India’s relations with her neighbours, Amb. Rao’s experiences showed her time and again, the core of our shared humanity. Culture, and music, in particular, could play a powerful role in bringing people together and developing a sense of empathy and capacity to truly listen to one another. She recalled a statement that the late Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka, Lakshman Kadirgamar, would often make and left a lasting impression and impact on her mind – “South Asia is an Integer”. From these ideas of promoting empathy and human connectivity, SASF was born and recently celebrated its second birthday in July.

SASF hopes to continue its conversation with Brookings India to enhance regional connectivities.

Find out more about the Sambandh Project on the Brookings India website.

Ambassador Rao on Twitter – @NMenonRao

Constantino Xavier on Twitter – @ConstantinoX


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