"Indo-Arab Relations: The Evolving Dynamics with a Rising Power," opened in Doha on May 5, 2018. The conference, in which many international experts are participating, is organised by the Arab Center as part of its annual Arabs and the World Series.
Marwan Kabalan, Head of the Policy Analysis Unit at the Center, opened the conference by stressing the importance of the subject. He pointed out several important factors governing the two countries' relations, linked to India's international development role, economically and industrially. These include the need to secure energy sources, which affect India's relations with its Arab neighbors. These relations are also relevant to Indian security demands and regional stability, and Indian ambitions to play a greater role in this regard.
The first session focused on historical relations between the Gulf States and India. Sahibe Alam Al Nadwi presented the first paper of the day, looking at these relations in the Mughal era. Moain Sadeq then presented his research on Indo-Qatari Relations from the 18th Century to the Early 20th Century. Suad Bait Fadhil and Yousef Al Ghilani followed with their paper on Economic Relations between Oman and India between the Mid-18th Century and the Early 20th Century.
The second session, moderated by Haider Saeed, focused on the cultural and academic dimensions of Indo-Arab relations. Aftab Ahmad looked at the dynamic role of translation in the promotion of Indo-Arab relations, while Chamseddine Alkilani looked at how India appears in the Arab imagination. Javed Ahmad Khan and Deepa Karuppan finished off the session with a discussion of contemporary research on Indo-Arab Relations in Indian universities.
Indian Communities in the Gulf
Samir Seifan moderated the third session, looking at Indian Communities in the Gulf States. Nasser Al Sadi opened this session with a discussion of the Indian Communities in the Gulf region before the oil boom, going back to the trade relations and geographical proximity between India and the Gulf States, specifically Oman. Vekkal John Varghese spoke about the state policy, networks and migration industry between India and the Gulf States, looking at the role of private brokers in contrast to the increasing formalization of migration. Mohanad Al-Nidawi then examined the sizeable impact and influence of Indian Communities in the Arab Gulf States, while Siham Maatallah looked at the external motives and internal drivers behind immigration of Indian communities to the Gulf.
Indian Relations with Arab North Africa
The final session was moderated by Abdelwahab El-Affendi, and explored India's relations with the Arab States in North Africa. Aftab Kamal Pasha, speaking first, discussed the political and economic factors shaping India's ties with West Asia and North Africa. Atmane Lamrani followed up with his paper about the African Continent as the Convergence Point for Moroccan and Indian Economic Interests, describing the relationship as the oldest between continents in human history. The final speaker of the day was Essam Abdelshafy, presenting on Indo-Egyptian relations since 2011, which were enhanced by several multi-sectoral agreements between the two countries following Mohammed Morsi's election.