Opening remarks by Chair: Amb Ranjit Gupta, Former Ambassador of India to Yemen & Oman
Speaker: Amb Talmiz Ahmad, Adviser, West Asia & North Africa, Ananta Centre, and Former Ambassador of India to Saudi Arabia, Oman & the UAE
Speaker: Amb Sanjay Singh, Former Secretary (East), Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, and former Ambassador to Iran
Speaker: Dr Sujata Ashwarya, Associate Professor, Centre for West Asian Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia
Speaker: Mr Rajorshi Roy, Research Analyst, Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses
Speaker:Pramit Pal Chaudhuri, Foreign Editor, Hindustan Times and Distinguished Fellow & Head Strategic Affairs, Ananta Aspen Centre
Speaker: Dr Meena Singh Roy, Research Fellow and Head - The West Asia Centre at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses
Speaker: Commodore Mukesh Bhargava (Retd), Head & Vice President, (Special Projects Underwater Platforms) Larsen & Toubro Ltd
ABOUT THE EVENT
While the present-day divide between Saudi Arabia and Iran has been framed in doctrinal and sectarian terms, it is the result of deep strategic vulnerabilities being felt in Riyadh in response to what it sees as the burgeoning role of Iran in areas that the kingdom views as its domain of exclusive influence – Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.
For the kingdom, this expanding influence reflects a “Shia Crescent” that is strangling it across West Asia and constitutes an “existential” threat. Saudi Arabia has responded to this challenge by confronting Iran in the theatres of its influence – Syria and Yemen.
After analysing the regional security scenario, the seminar will look at the extraordinary goodwill and standing that India presently enjoys with all the principal countries of the region following the robust engagement initiated by the Modi government, as well as warm relations with the US, Israel and Russia.
On this basis, it will discuss whether India can pursue a diplomatic initiative to promote trust and confidence between Saudi Arabia and Iran and help shape a process that would lead to dialogue between the kingdom and Iran and, over time, could evolve towards regional and extra-regional engagements to realise a regional security cooperation arrangement in West Asia.
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