SASP has the unique distinction of being the only Programme focusing on South Asia in the entire ASEAN region.
Our location in Southeast Asia is important because it provides a particular-and hitherto rather rare-perspective on South Asia and on the relations of the South Asian nation-states with Southeast Asia. This can be seen historically in terms of cultural relations and influences between the two regions and the South Asian diaspora, the settled Indian communities in different countries of Southeast Asia, including Singapore. Although the Programme began in 1999, there had always existed within the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) a strong interest in the South Asian region. This was reflected by the presence of faculty members in the Departments of Economics, Political Science, Philosophy, English and Sociology, many of whom engaged with South Asia in terms of their research and teaching. Some of these departments had faculty members who worked on aspects of South Asian Studies. (For example, the Department of History had in the 1950s the distinguished scholar Eric Strokes who subsequently held the Smuts Chair of Commonwealth History at Cambridge). All this points to the fact that NUS has had a continuous tradition of scholarship on the Indian subcontinent, although SASP came to be institutionalized as a departmental entity only in 1999. In fact, the rich resources that exist in the NUS Library relating to South Asia pre-date the formation of SASP.