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Author: Rajesh Rajagopalan
Shlomo Brom/Several Contributors
Translator(s)/ Editors(s): Kanchi Gupta
Publisher: Observer Research Foundation
ISBN/UPC (if available): N/A
The conference on “Transformations in West Asia: The Next Step” was jointly organized by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) and the West Asia-North Africa (WANA) Division, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. The conference brought together some of the best academic minds and experts from countries in the West Asian region, including Egypt, Qatar, Israel, Libya and representatives from India’s various political and educational institutions. The conference provided a thought-provoking platform for a discourse on the developments in the region and their global implications.
With a larger objective of fostering constructive dialogue and intellectual partnerships, the interaction proved highly critical at this juncture, given the uncertainty that marks this period of transition, the political vacuum that is being filled up by radical forces and the brutal violence that has killed over 100,000 people in Syria and Iraq alone. The new and old political orders have impacted domestic and foreign policy agendas, creating space for new stakeholders in the stability of the region: India is a long-standing stakeholder in the stability of the region.
The conference was organized along certain current themes and issues that contributed significantly to the existing discourse on the developments in West Asia. Against the backdrop of the interim nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1, a major focus was on “security Dilemmas and Nuclear Proliferation” in the region. This was followed by discussions on the “Socio-economic Trends and Politics Transitions” and “Perceptions of Democracy and Emerging Governance Structures”. Given the transformative nature of changes taking place in India’s immediate and extended neighborhood, the last two sessions expanded on the themes of “West Asia as a Commercial and Energy Hub” and “Shifting Geopolitics: The Implications for West Asia and India”.
The developments following the Arab Spring have altered the region’s strategic landscape in significant ways. Reverberations of the Arab Spring created ripples in many parts of the region, weakening state authorities and structures and consequently strengthening sectarian and tribal allegiances. The Syrian stalemate, the violence in Iraq and the developments in Turkey appear to have clear sectarian manifestations and are likely to have enduring regional and global implications. The Arab Spring also needs to be disaggregated into its component events in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, which underwent regime changes and are still marked by enduring instability.
About The Editor:
Kanchi Gupta is a Junior Fellow working for the West Asia Programme at Observer Research Foundation. Her research focuses on political and security developments in the countries of the region. She holds a Master’s degree in International Politics and Diplomacy from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
Section 1: Security Dilemmas and Nuclear Proliferation in West Asia
M.K. Bhadrakumar (Former Indian Ambassador to Turkey)
Rajesh Rajagopalan (Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi)
Shlomo Brom (Senior Research Associate, Institute for National Security Studies, Tel Aviv)
Section 2: Socio-economic Trends and Political Transitions
Pramit Pal Choudhary (Foreign Editor, The Hindustan Times, New Delhi)
Abdelmonem Al Yaser (Chairman, National Security Committee of Libya)
Khaled Hroub (Professor, North Western University, Doha)
Zikrur Rahman (Professor, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi)
Section 3: Perceptions of Democracy and Emerging Governance Structures
Ashraf El-Sherif (Professor, American University of Cairo)
A.K. Pasha (Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi)
Section 4: Shifting Geopolitics: The Implications for West Asia and India
P.R. Kumaraswamy (Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi)
Idrani Bagchi (Senior Editor, The Times of India)
Section 5: West Asia as a Commercial and Energy Hub
Cem Deniz Kut (Professor, Bilgi University, Istanbul)
Kaushik Deb (Reliance Industries)
Girjesh Pant (Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi)