The Department of Strategic and Regional Studies (DSRS), earlier known as the Centre for Strategic and Regional Studies (CSRS) was conceptualized by then Chancellor of the University and Governor of Jammu and Kashmir General (Retd.) K.V. Krishna Rao in 1985. Subsequently, University Grants Commission appointed a special committee that submitted its report in 1987, recommending that in view of rapidly changing security environment, intensive efforts should be made to promote general awareness of strategic issues and national security in the country. It envisaged setting up a Centre for research on strategic, security and regional issues.

            The predecessor of the Department of Strategic and Regional Studies (DSRS), Centre for Strategic and Regional Studies (CSRS), was established in the University of Jammu on 27th May 2002. lt had been conceived to promote and undertake research on strategic issues, national security and geo-strategic developments in the areas contiguous to India in a substantive and inclusive manner. The Centre started M.Phil. and Ph.D. programmes in Strategic Studies in April 2004.The Centre was elevated to the status of a full-fledged teaching Department by the University Council on April 21, 2006.

            The mandate of DSRS is to carry out in-depth research and generate awareness about strategic and security issues in general and South and Central Asia in particular. The University of Jammu is playing a pioneering role in the imparting of higher education. In the field of strategic studies, the University is poised to strengthen the field and aspires to be the leading centre for research and teaching. Since its existence, the DSRS has some humble achievements to be proud of. In collaboration with the Army Headquarter (Northern Command) the Department has established General Zorawar Singh Chair in 2004. The objective is to conduct advanced research on an issue of direct relevance to India’s national security. A retired Lieutenant General occupies the Chair, and two serving officers at the level of Colonel serve as Scholar-in-Residence. Apart from this, the DSRS runs a Ministry of External Affairs Project for conducting research on the socio-political, constitutional and economic developments in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. Moreover, University Grants Commission (UGC) has also identified DSRS as a Centre for Area Study Programme since 2006.   

The DSRS has instituted three memorial lectures, Gen. Zorawar Singh Memorial Lecture, Brig. Rajinder Singh Memorial Lecture and Brig. Osman Memorial Lecture. Important strategic thinkers have been invited to deliver these lectures on strategic issues. During the last ten years DSRS has organised eighteen national level seminars on Kashmir, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia and conducted a number of public lectures in which leading strategic experts of the country addressed the civil society in Jammu.

The faculty of the DSRS has published its research as books, edited volumes, and research articles in peer-reviewed journals. Select research articles published in the in international peer-reviewed journals such as South Asian Survey (2012, Sage), Asian Politics & Policy (2013, Wiley-Blackwell), International Migration (2013, Wiley-Blackwell), International Relations of the Asia-Pacific (2016, Oxford University Press), International Politics (2019, 2022, Springer Nature), Millennial Asia (2020, 2022, Sage), Bandung: Journal of the Global South (2020, Brill), Jadavpur Journal of International Relations (2020, Sage), Maritime Affairs (2020, Routledge), and Peace Review (2023, Routledge).

Select books are Pakistan in a Changing Strategic Context (2004), Central Asia: Present Challenges and Future Prospects (2005), India and Pakistan: Pathways Ahead (2007), The Last Colony: Muzaffarabad-Gilgit-Baltistan (2008), Pakistan Occupied Kashmir: Constitutional Status and Political Reality (2011), Russia and Tajikistan: Political and Security Relationship (2011), India and Pakistan Confidence Building Measures (2012), Revival of the Silk Route: Growing Role of India (2012), and Complex Rivalry: The Dynamics of India-Pakistan Conflict (2022, University of Michigan Press).

Adding to this, DSRS also publishes a bi-annual international refereed journal Security and Society and ACROSS LOC a quarterly digest on developments in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. These achievements and developments have helped the DSRS to acquire the institutional character, resources and experience to embark on one of its objectives: to expand the teaching programme on strategic studies. As part of its mandate the DSRS had started the M. Phil Programme in Strategic and Regional Studies in April 2004. Now, from Session 2022-23, the DSRS has started M.A. Programme in Defence and Strategic Studies. There are many compelling reasons that encouraged the University of Jammu to start this programme on three counts:

1. Location

The University is ideally located to be the hub of teaching and research on strategic studies. There are around thirty Strategic Studies Department/Centres in other universities in India but none is located as strategically as the University of Jammu is. Its location in a conflict zone and closeness to Pakistan, China and New Delhi all has value addition to the field. There are advantages of library consultation, field research etc from its location in Jammu.

2. New Orientation

To enrich and make Masters Programmes more meaningful and job-oriented for students, the University of Jammu through its Department of Strategic and Regional Studies can offer a M.A. Programme in Defence and Strategic Studies. While recognising the value of the Masters programmes in the other subjects in the Social Sciences disciplines, the DSRS is planning to only supplement these disciplines and widen the options for students to understand the dynamics of contemporary international politics. It is felt that despite the need for a multi-disciplinary approach to understand the constantly evolving nature of defence studies and international politics, the mainstream disciplines of Political Science and International Relations have not been able to move out of their rigidly structured courses. The dynamic nature of international politics has imposed severe limitations on most disciplines related to politics and their capacity to keep pace with the constantly changing and fast paced nature of developments. The Masters programme in Defence and Strategic Studies is designed to make students think and develop a consciousness of defence and strategic issues not within a nationalistic framework but with a global perspective. It is also felt that this course is more in consonance with the changing profile of jobs available in the market for students of social science disciplines. As such, the M. A. programme is not designed only to produce post-graduates who seek a career in academics but also in the fields of journalism, MNCs, NGOs and think-tanks.

3. Academic Contribution

Studies in defence and strategic affairs along with international relations have become important and much more so in the last few years. There is a need to develop specialisation in this field also in India and strengthen the resource base of teachers and students. Unfortunately, in India, few universities are offering courses in Defence and Strategic Studies. Recently the University Grants Commission has introduced a full-fledged course titled Defence and Strategic Studies in which students can appear for Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) and National Level Eligibility Test (NET) for lectureship. This is recognition of the importance of this field of study by the UGC. Students undergoing the M.A. Programme in Defence and Strategic Studies in DSRS, University of Jammu, have adequate support and back-up from institutions like the UGC. The M.A. Programme in DSRS will therefore supplement UGC’s efforts to encourage the field. The programme would also help to create a group of professionally trained scholars in Jammu and Kashmir in the field of defence and strategic studies who in the future would contribute to the development of the discipline itself.