In its quest to be the repository and epicentre of knowledge on India in Australia, the Australia India Institute ensures that teaching forms a core component of its activities.

The idea is to build a substantive epistemic community that can undertake exciting research and other scholarly works on India in the years to come.

The best way to go about accomplishing this remarkable exercise is to introduce India in all its historical, political, social and cultural dimensions to young students who can then critically engage with the multifarious issues related to the country. The Undergraduate and Masters Subjects offered are an attempt in that direction.

Postgraduate Subject: India and the World

As India’s influence increases in the international system, understanding its foreign policy and its engagement with the rest of the world is critical for students of international relations. This subject is designed as a comprehensive review of some of the key issues related to India’s worldview and its behaviour towards the external world. The subject will familiarise students with the origins and conduct of India’s foreign policy. Apart from taking stock of contemporary thinking and policies of the country, the major thrust of the course would be on the following areas: Mapping the historical trajectory and pre-colonial roots of India’s Foreign Policy, institutions and decision-making processes, intellectual debates on the nation’s external relations, the culture of strategic thinking in India’s relations with the outside world, India’s relations with its neighbours and great powers, its nuclear weapons debate and its engagement with multilateral institutions.

Further details in the University of Melbourne Handbook 2012, 2013

Undergraduate Subject: Contemporary India

This subject seeks to introduce undergraduate students to contemporary India. It will primarily focus on developments since 1947, the year of India’s independence from British rule. The subject will cover three main areas: India’s constitution and democratic structures; Indian society and social movements; and Indian foreign policy. Students will be introduced to the Indian constitution, the process of its drafting and its working since 1950, including the main amendments and the principal debates over its functioning. The main contemporary issues in Indian politics – including those related to caste, secularism and development – will be covered. The structure of Indian society and the nature of social movements will also be studied. The continuity and changes in India’s foreign policy, starting with the era of Non-Alignment, will also be introduced in this subject. In summary, the subject will not just explore the critical dimensions of contemporary Indian politics and society but also introduce students to the intellectual debates on key issues.

Further details in the University of Melbourne Handbook 2012, 2013.

Contemporary India Massive Online Open Course

This course provides a sophisticated and intellectually challenging examination of the complexities of a modern and changing India in the twenty-first century and it's FREE!

About the Course
This course presents some important vignettes of a complex, highly diverse India that is also witnessing unprecedented changes since its formal independence in 1947 from Great Britain. The lectures revolve around social dimensions of change, the continuing influence of ancient texts on contemporary India, political democracy, economic transition form the state to the market, gender relations, India's economic globalisation and changing world view.

While one of the objectives is to capture the multifaceted process of change, the course also critically examines some of the tensions inherent in these changes. For example, how does gender inequality play itself out in a changing Indian society, how do the modernist conceptions of art entailing market valuation challenge the more socio-centric values found in South India, what are the politics linguistic identities, and how might India address its myriad development challenges such as poverty and unemployment.

MacArthur Foundation Research Project

China & India at Sea: Competition and Coexistence

The Australia India Institute is undertaking a major research project through 2016 that focuses on the interaction of China and India as maritime powers in the Indo-Pacific. The project is funded by the John D. and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation

China and India are emerging as major maritime powers of the Indo-Pacific as part of long term shifts in the regional balance of power. While there has been much focus on the strategic interaction between China and the United States in the Pacific, there has been much less analysis of how China and India will interact as major maritime powers. In particular, there has been little articulation of Chinese perspectives of its maritime role in the Indian Ocean or of India’s strategic aspirations in the Pacific.

As their wealth, interests and power expand, China and India will increasingly come into contact with one another in the shared maritime security space of the Indo-Pacific. How India and China get along in that new context – cooperation, coexistence, competition or confrontation – will be one of the key strategic challenges of the 21st century. Along with US-China and China-Japan relations, the relationship between India and China will set the tone for peace or conflict in the decades ahead.

Although India and China have a growing trade relationship, the overall bilateral relationship remains relatively volatile and tension-ridden. There are many unresolved security issues between them, including a major border dispute in the Himalayas, questions over Tibetan autonomy and China’s de facto alliance with Pakistan. Not least is China’s growing presence in the Indian Ocean where China is perceived to be shaping the strategic environment in its favour and forming alignments that could be used against India. Many in New Delhi see a significant risk that India and China will, as Admiral Arun Prakash, former Indian Chief of Naval Staff, put it, ‘compete and even clash for the same strategic space.’   

Yet, of all major power relationships in Asia, the India-China relationship is the least studied or understood. Many scholars and analysts focus on the strategic interactions among the United States, China and Japan. In contrast there is relatively little international focus on the Sino-Indian relationship. In addition, academic discussion in both India and China on the relationship is often constrained by ideological and historical factors, which often results in relatively unsophisticated analysis of the other’s perspectives and intentions: in particular, there is little understanding China’s perspectives on the rise of India as a major power and its expectations about respective maritime security roles in the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

China and India at Sea: Competition and Coexistence will address how China and India will interact as major maritime powers in the Indo-Pacific region - the Asia-centric region that encompasses the Indian and Pacific Oceans and which is defined by the roles and interests of major powers within that space.

Key questions to be considered by the project include:

  • Understanding Chinese and Indian strategic ambitions in the maritime realm and perceptions of the legitimate maritime security roles of each other.
  • How the interests of China and India will intersect in the Indian Ocean and Western Pacific.
  • How developments in Chinese and Indian trade and investment flows will affect maritime security.
  • Perceptions and interests of other key regional players in the Sino-Indian strategic relationship.

The project will articulate and synthesise perceptions of official and leading non-official analysts in China, India and other key states about the future roles of China and India in Indo-Pacific maritime security. It will examine potential areas of conflict and cooperation in the maritime realm and provide policy recommendations for those with an interest in helping to mould this key relationship in the interests of regional stability and prosperity.


Project Director: Dr David Brewster -  Distinguished Fellow, Australia India Institute

David Brewster is a former corporate lawyer, specialising in mergers and acquisitions and has practised in the United States, Britain, France and Australia. He completed a doctorate in Indian strategic affairs in 2010 at the Australian National University. He writes widely about Indian strategic affairs and the India-Australia relationship. His books include India as an Asia Pacific Power and India’s Ocean: India’s bid for regional leadership.


Project Advisor: Professor Amitabh Mattoo, CEO & Founding Director, Australia India Institute

Professor Mattoo is the Director of AII and a Professor of International Relations at the University of Melbourne. He concurrently serves as Professor of Disarmament Studies at the Centre for International Politics, Organisation and Disarmament at New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University. Professor Mattoo has been a Member of the National Knowledge Commission, a high-level advisory group to the Prime Minister of India and the National Security Council’s Advisory Board. He was the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Jammu from 2002-2008. He received his Doctorate from the University of Oxford and has been a visiting Professor at Stanford University, the University of Notre Dame, the University of Illinois, and the Maison des Sciences de l'Homme in Paris. He has published extensively including eight books and more than a hundred articles. He was awarded the Padma Shri, one of India's highest civilian awards, for his contribution to education and public life.


Project Advisor: Rory Medcalf

Professor Medcalf is Head of the National Security College at the Australian National University. His professional background spans diplomacy, journalism, think tanks and intelligence analysis. He was Director of the Lowy Institute’s International Security Program from 2007 to 2015. He has worked as a senior strategic analyst with the Office of National Assessments, Canberra's peak intelligence analysis agency. His experience as an Australian diplomat included a posting to New Delhi, a secondment to the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, truce monitoring after the civil conflict in Bougainville and policy development on Asian security institutions. He has contributed to three landmark reports on nuclear arms control and disarmament including the Canberra Commission and the Tokyo Forum. His earlier work in journalism was commended in Australia’s leading media awards, the Walkleys. He has been active in developing Australia's relations with India, including as founding convener and co-chair of the Australia-India Roundtable, the leading informal policy dialogue between the two countries.

Victoria India Doctoral Scholarships

  • 30 Victoria India Doctoral Scholarships were awarded between 2012 – 2015.
  • The Victoria India Doctoral Scholarships provided at least $90,000 to each recipient over the duration of their studies for living costs and education-related travel – comprising $90,000 from the Victorian Government and a fee waiver from the host university.
  • Victoria India Doctoral Scholarships were available to citizens of the Republic of India.
  • The Australia India Institute administers the Victoria India Doctoral Scholarships program on behalf of the Victorian Government.
  • Victoria India Doctoral Scholarships recipients are at various stages of their research. Their research has the capacity to benefit communities in India and Victoria. They continue to be excellent ambassadors for Victoria.
  • Applications are closed for this scholarship program.

For further information, please contact Marianna Sarris, Projects and Operations Officer, at marianna.sarris@unimelb.edu.au or Tel +61 3 9035 4067





Victoria Indian Doctoral Scholarship - Poshmaal Dhar from Australia India Institute on Vimeo.

Victoria Indian Doctoral Scholarship - Sathish Thirunavukkarasu from Australia India Institute on Vimeo.

Victoria Indian Doctoral Scholarship - Neha Rathi from Australia India Institute on Vimeo.

Australia India Study Tour 17th-27th January, 2013

In January 2013, the Australia India Institute took twenty participating undergraduate students to visit two of India’s most prestigious institutions, the Universities of Delhi and Mumbai.

Funded by the Commonwealth Department of Industry Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education, the Australia India Student Experience is aimed at strengthening relations between India and Australia and engaging young Australians as Global Citizens.

Participants exposed themselves to the intellectual and cultural life of an emerging superpower and one of the world’s oldest and most dynamic societies.

The students, from various universities across Australia, travelled to Mumbai, Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. They visited the Dharavi slums, where they  encountered a way of life they had never seen before, and interacted with similar undergraduate students at HR College where they discussed the challenges facing today’s youth.

In Delhi the students met the High Commissioner of Australia to India, and took part in an Old Delhi heritage walk where they came to appreciate how tradition and modernity are seamlessly weaved in every aspect of life, be it economic or social. While in Agra and Fatehpur Sikri , they could not help but wonder at the grandeur of Mughal architecture, not only in terms of their beauty and magnificence, but also the philosophy of imbibing syncretic values of tolerance and harmony into those architectures.

This recurring theme provided the students with an answer as to how so many diverse cultures may have co-existed in this part of the world for so many centuries. The last part of their trip was spent in Jaipur and in Agra they had a glimpse of what Mughal glory was in its heyday; here they saw the fame and splendour of the Rajput emperors. The visit to the Amber Fort, the Palace on Water (Jal Mahal) and the beautiful artwork done by the block painters were things the students marvelled at. They also got a chance to interact with the 20 Australian and Indian artists in Jaipur for the Australia India Institute Artists' Retreat. Most students also agreed a most exciting part of the tour was the different types of food and drink that are on offer in India. The students were always eager to try out something new, different, and exciting.

The students blogged about their experiences here.

Watch the Video


India Internships 2013

Applications are now closed

Internship Period 22nd June – 22nd July 2013

The Australia India Institute has invited applications from Post Graduate or Undergraduate students for The Australia India Student Experience – India Internships 2013.

Funded by the Australia Government Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education, the Internships are aimed at strengthening relations between India and Australia and engaging young Australians in international workplace experiences.

20 1-Month Internships are available in a diverse range of disciplines from business to community development.

Students will be funded by the program to live and work in India’s commercial capital Mumbai and experience a truly unique International professional opportunity.

Atma NGO

Bombay Stock Exchange


Haymarket India

National Australia Bank


Tata Consultancy Services

The Conversation

Victorian Government Office Mumbai

Upcoming Events Delhi

Upcoming Events Melbourne