India and West Asia represent a confluence of civilisations which is a paradigm for our times. Over the millennia, the religious, ethnic, political, commercial, cultural, literary and linguistic ties that bind the peoples of the two regions have endured. Today these ties are marked by a mutuality of interest and benefit with India's emergence as a global player. Never has the need for maintaining security, peace and prosperity in our region been greater with the retrograde developments witnessed in recent years. The conjunction of these events has inevitably led to calls for India to play a helpful role in the search for solutions to the festering conflicts in the region. This compendium explores the possibilities, challenges and parameters of such an engagement. While the jury is still out, the papers presented here highlight its multi-dimensional character.
Rajendra Madhukar Abhyankar is Director, Centre for West Asian Studies at the Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi. Ambassador Abhyankar retired from the Indian Diplomatic Service after more than 36 years of multi-faceted diplomatic experience of people, places and issues. He has been Ambassador to Syria, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Belgium, Luxembourg and the European Union and High Commissioner to Cyprus and Deputy High Commissioner to Sri Lanka. He was responsible for fashioning India's policy on Palestine-Israel issue; and on developing India's relations with Israel and formulated and supervised India's policy in the field of counter-terror-ism. He led a number of bilateral groups with countries in the region.