India & West Asia
30 January 2016 9 : 00 AM
Grand Sala Hall, Cidade de Goa
West Asia has a distinctive place in India’s foreign policy & external relations. It has many external players and major power stakeholders, including the US, China and Russia; as such, India has to factor in the actions and initiatives of these countries and calibrate its own policies in an objective, equitable and sustainable manner. The perennial dilemma between prioritising realpolitik interests without abandoning abiding values poses a particularly distinctive challenge to the Indian mandarin.
This panel will debate a range of uncomfortable questions, considering politico-strategic, economic (especially trade and oil), and security-military issues, and discuss continuities and departures in India’s foreign policy in West Asia in the current context. How appropriate has it been? What are the most desirable/equitable and politically sustainable orientations that the panel would recommend? What is the assessment of the policies of the US and China in the region, and how will they impact India? What about military diplomacy?
Darryl Li – Associate Research Scholar, Yale Law School
Darryl LI holds a PhD in Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University, and is Associate Research Scholar in Law and Robina Visiting Human Rights Fellow at Yale Law School. He is currently completing a book manuscript on transnational jihad movements in the international legal order. He is also working on a project funded by the Social Science Research Council on migrant labour in private military industries.
Toby Dodge – Reader, LSE
Toby DODGE is Director of the Middle East Centre, and Professor in International Relations at the London School of Economics & Political Science. His research concentrates on the evolution of the post-colonial state in the international system. The main focus of this work in the developing world is the state in the Middle East (specifically Iraq). He is Senior Consulting Fellow for the Middle East at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, London. He has recently published Iraq: From War to a New Authoritarianism (2013).
Talmiz Ahmad – IFS
Talmiz AHMAD, a retired diplomat, is currently Visiting Distinguished Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation in Delhi, and an energy consultant in Dubai. He has a special interest in the countries of the Gulf and the Arabian peninsula, having served diplomatic missions in the region early in his career – including being India’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, the Sultanate of Oman, the United Arab Emirates. He has also served as Director-General of the Indian Council of World Affairs, a foreign affairs think-tank. He lectures and publishes regularly on the politics of West Asia, political Islam, and energy security. His latest monograph is The Islamist Challenge in West Asia: Doctrinal and Political Competitions after the Arab Spring (2013).
Uday BHASKAR is currently Director, Society for Policy Studies, New Delhi. A retired naval officer, and one of India’s leading experts on security and strategic affairs. He is a columnist, editor and contributor to journals and newspapers, is a life member of the United Services Institute. He has formerly been with the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, and was appointed as Secretary to the Government of India’s task force on Global Strategic Developments. He is co-author, most recently, of The Aircraft Carrier in the 21st Century (2013).
Siddharth Varadarajan – Journalist
Siddharth VARADARAJAN, an LSE alumnus, is a journalist and a founding editor of The Wire, a news publication that reimagines the media as a joint venture in the public sphere between journalists, readers, and a concerned citizenry. A former editor of The Hindu, he has also worked for the Times of India, and has reported on the NATO war against Yugoslavia, the war in Iraq and the crisis in Kashmir, the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan, amongst much else. After completing his Phd at Columbia University, he taught economics at New York University, and has also taught journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of Gujarat: The Making of a Tragedy (2002).
Nicolas Blarel is Assistant Professor of International Relations at the Institute of Political Science, Leiden University in The Netherlands. He focuses on foreign and security policy issues in South Asia as well as relations between India and the Middle East.His most recent book is The Evolution of India’s Israel Policy: Continuity, Change, and Compromise since 1922 (Oxford University Press, 2015). He is currently working on a research project looking at the historical determinants of India’s policy towards the Middle-East/West Asia and which aims to evaluate the degree of continuity and change from independence to today.