Events in West Asia constantly demand global attention due to regional conflicts, faith-based divisions, sectarian violence and wars that are often ignited by external powers. Popular agitations for political, economic and social reform frequently make the scenario even more fragile, turbulent and uncertain. As a new world order asserts its claims across Eurasia and the Indian Ocean, West Asia is witnessing new diplomatic initiatives to reshape regional alignments that will define global power equations in times to come.
West Asia at War, written by veteran Indian diplomat Talmiz Ahmad, combines an understanding of the diverse forces shaping the politics and economics of this region, and paints a portrait that is at once grim, painful, colourful and exciting. The author, Talmiz Ahmad, will be in conversation with P.S. Raghavan and Latha Reddy. A Q&A with the audience will follow.
Talmiz Ahmad joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1974. Early in his career, he was posted in a number of West Asian countries such as Kuwait, Iraq and Yemen and later, between 1987-90, he was Consul General in Jeddah. He served as Indian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia twice (2000-03; 2010-11); Oman (2003-04), and the UAE (2007-10).
After retirement from foreign service in 2011, he worked in the corporate sector in Dubai for four years. He is now a full-time academic and holds the Ram Sathe Chair in International Studies, Symbiosis International University, Pune. He has published four books: Reform in the Arab World: External Influences and Regional Debates (2005); Children of Abraham at War: The Clash of Messianic Militarisms (2010), The Islamist Challenge in West Asia: Doctrinal and Political Competitions after the Arab Spring (2013), and West Asia at War: Repression, Resistance and Great Power Games. He writes regularly in the Indian and West Asian media and lectures on the politics and economics of West Asia, Eurasia and the Indian Ocean, political Islam and energy security.
P S Raghavan
Ambassador Raghavan is Chairperson of the National Security Advisory Board. In a 36-year diplomatic career, he has served in different capacities in USSR, Poland, United Kingdom, Vietnam and South Africa. He was India’s Ambassador to Russia, Ireland and the Czech Republic. From 2000 to 2004, he was Joint Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office, dealing with Foreign Affairs, Defence, National Security, Space and Atomic Energy. In the Ministry of External Affairs, he founded and headed the Development Partnership Administration, which implements India’s projects abroad. He was also Secretary (Economic Relations), steering India’s external economic engagement, and Secretary overseeing Administration and e-governance.
Among his other assignments were as Political Adviser to the Indian Peace-Keeping Force (IPKF) in Sri Lanka (1987-88), Chief Coordinator of the BRICS Summit (2012) and Special Envoy of the Government of India to the Sudan and South Sudan (2012-13). He is a Distinguished Fellow at the Vivekananda International Foundation, New Delhi and Emeritus Resource Faculty at the Rashtriya Raksha University, Gandhinagar.
Latha Reddy is the former Deputy National Security Adviser of India where she was responsible for cybersecurity and other critical internal and external security issues. She also served as a Commissioner on the Global Commission on Internet Governance.
Ms. Reddy served in the Indian Foreign Service from 1975-2011. She was then appointed as India’s Deputy National Security Advisor in the Prime Minister’s Office from 2011-2013. She is involved with several organizations and think-tanks, both globally and in India. She is currently, among other positions, a Distinguished Fellow of the Observer Research Foundation and also serves on the Adjunct Faculty of the Takshashila Institution.