International seminar on conflict in West Asia begins at AMU

Aligarh: A two-day International Seminar on “Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia – Regional Rivalries and Alliances: Implications for India” began at Aligarh Muslim University on Thursday.

Organised by Department of West Asian Studies and North African Studies, Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), Aligarh, the seminar aims highlighting the developments in West Asia.

Addressing the inaugural function Director, UGC-HRDC, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, Prof Aneesur Rahman said, ?80 percent energy requirement of India is fulfilled from West Asia region and India receives largest foreign remittance from gulf countries, therefore India can?t ignore the conflict in the region and it has to play a positive role in subsiding the increasing tension between Iran and USA, and their regional allies”.

Prof Rahman said, though challenges are enormous, India has to play pragmatic and tactical role, so that our interest are safe in the region. Referring to the presence of a large number of Indian Diaspora in the gulf region, Prof Rahman said the region is an extended neighborhood for India and all the stakeholders are important for us including Iran, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Introducing the theme of the seminar, Prof M Gulrez (Dean, Faculty of International Studies, AMU), said West Asia has a long history of political upheaval and turbulence. It has seen four wars but peace has remained elusive and nothing sustainable has come up so far. “The Arab Spring also could not bring any positive change and the concept of collective Arab nationalism was replaced by individualism” he said.

Presenting an overview of the conflict among rival countries in West Asia, he said the old order has changed and Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt have different Western allies. “This complex situation puts India in a delicate position where maintaining a balance is a huge challenge”. He emphasised that India cannot remain neutral and must try to minimise the conflict in the region.

Prof Suresh Kumar (University of Delhi) emphasized on reviving the role of India as an independent and neutral country on the pattern of Non Alignment Movement days. “India can act as a mediator between Iran and USA, and can lead South Asia block in the changing Geo-Political scenario”, he emphasised.

Chairman, Department of West Asian Studies and North African Studies, Prof Ghulam Mursaleen welcomed the delegates in the seminar. Delegates from Thailand, Delhi, Allahabad, Gujarat, Kerala and other parts of the country are attending the seminar.