The focus of the Centre’s research activities has evolved over the years, in line with emerging concerns in the arena of world politics. In the first two decades of its existence, the Centre’s programmes emphasized the study of major problems in contemporary international affairs. Issues such as Nonalignment, the North-South dialogue, the quest for a new international economic order, human rights, sources of contemporary militarism, wars of national liberation movements, transfer of technology, defence, development and disarmament, were all extensively researched. In more recent years, the research concerns of CIPOD faculty and students have moved in exciting new directions.

The International Politics programme of study has a wide-ranging focus of study and research, encompassing the theory and practice of international politics. It undertakes studies – theoretical, empirical and normative – that have a bearing on the problems of conflict and cooperation in international politics. In recent years, there has been an increasing emphasis on theoretical analyses of wide ranging issues, including environment, human rights, ethnicity, culture, democracy, religion, globalization, civil society, power, norms, and history of ideas.

The International Organization programme of study seeks to study the problems of international security, international cooperation, regional and universal organizations, and India’s role in multilateral bodies. In the last few years, substantial research has been done on peacekeeping and peacemaking operations, humanitarian intervention, human rights, regional organizations, international financial institutions, international trade, and regime building in various areas of international politics and global economy, global governance and international non-governmental organizations.

The Diplomacy and Disarmament programme of study has traditionally sought to develop the perspectives of the developing countries on problems of disarmament. This has necessitated a critical analysis of the underlying assumptions regarding disarmament and arms control which are projected by the literature published in the Western countries. Apart from arms control and disarmament, the programme also focuses on diverse issues of national, regional and international security. There is particular emphasis on new approaches for building peace and preventing war, such as conflict resolution, confidence building measures and cooperative security. The programme has encouraged research on questions of military history and sociology and on civil-military relations. Research on diplomacy focuses on both historical and contemporary issues in the field of diplomacy. In recent years, the thrust of the programme has been on security studies, critical theory, critical security studies and peace and conflict studies. The range of research undertaken spans various aspects of Indian foreign policy and diplomacy, international security diplomacy, economic diplomacy, environmental diplomacy, cultural diplomacy, and the role of media and technology in diplomacy.

The Political Geography programme of study seeks to provide geopolitical and geo-strategic perspectives on international politics by studying both temporal and spatial aspects of contemporary international relations. There is an emphasis on geopolitics and critical geopolitics and on various ways through which global space is written about, including formal, practical and popular geopolitics.