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GCC-South Asia: A New Role for the Gulf Countries in the Subcontinent?

By: | posted on: Mar 21, 2019

Date(s) - 03/21/2019
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

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The Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington


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Motorcyclists ride past billboards showing the portraits of Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, to welcome the crown prince to Islamabad, Pakistan, Jan. 6. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)
GCC-South Asia: A New Role for the Gulf Countries in the Subcontinent?

DATE  Thursday March 21, 2019
TIME  3:30 – 5:00 pm
LOCATION  1050 Connecticut Ave, NW, Ste. 1060, Washington, DC 20036
SPEAKERS  Hasan Al-Hasan, Narayanappa Janardhan, Afshin Molavi
MODERATOR  Hussein Ibish
RSVPThe South Asian subcontinent has for centuries been a region of vital importance to the Gulf due to converging economic, political, and strategic interests. The Gulf is now also home to a vast South Asian diaspora – estimated at over 10 million people, with at least eight million from India alone.

A new dynamism is developing in Gulf-South Asian relations as trade increases and both regions continue to grow in global importance and influence. Pakistan is a long-standing ally of many Gulf Arab states and India’s engagement with the Middle East, including the Gulf, is rapidly expanding.

A recent outbreak of hostilities between the two South Asian nuclear powers presents an immediate challenge for Gulf Arab states as India and Pakistan appear to be inching toward a broader armed conflict. What role can Gulf Arab countries play as friends of both? Where do the strategic interests of all sides converge and what impact might Gulf countries have in stabilizing South Asia? Are economic and energy interests in this relationship ultimately separable from security and stability concerns? How can these states harness the dynamic interplay of economic and social issues that animate this growing relationship?

AGSIW is pleased to host this panel discussion examining the diplomatic, security, and economic issues shaping the growing relationship between the countries of the Gulf and the South Asian subcontinent.

A light lunch will be served. Unable to attend? Watch live.

Follow the conversation on Twitter#GCCSouthAsia.


Hasan Al-Hasan is a PhD researcher at King’s College London and the National University of Singapore, where his work focuses on Indian foreign policy in the Middle East. He previously served as a senior analyst at the office of the first deputy prime minister of Bahrain.

Narayanappa Janardhan is a senior research fellow at the Gulf-Asia Programme at the Emirates Diplomatic Academy. He is the author of Boom amid Gloom: Spirit of Possibility in the 21st Century Gulf (Ithaca, 2011). As honorary fellow at the Centre for Gulf Studies at the University of Exeter, he is also the managing assistant editor of the Journal of Arabian Studies (Routledge). With a broad-based interest in sociopolitical developments in the Middle East, Janardhan’s research areas include political reforms, international relations (Gulf-Asia relations), education, media, gender, labor, migration, human rights, and human trafficking in the Gulf region. After obtaining his PhD from the School of International Studies at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, he was program manager for Gulf-Asia relations and editor of “Gulf in the Media” at the Gulf Research Center in Dubai. He is a regular contributor to various media outlets in the Middle East, as well as international academic publications.

Afshin Molavi is a senior fellow at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies Foreign Policy Institute, where he writes broadly on emerging markets, particularly on themes related to “The New Silk Road,” South-South trade, global hub cities, new emerging market multinationals, global aviation, the geopolitics of energy, and the intersection of Middle East states and the global economy. Molavi is the co-founder of emerge85 Lab, an initiative dedicated to exploring change in the emerging world and its global impact. He was a senior research fellow at the New America Foundation, a nonpartisan think tank, and a former director of the World Economic Roundtable. He is also the founder and editor of the New Silk Road Monitor, a site that examines the markets, societies, cultures, and politics of countries across Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and beyond. Molavi was a journalist with postings in Dubai, Riyadh, Jeddah, and Tehran; his dispatches from the Middle East and essays have been published in The New York Times,  Foreign Policy, The Financial Times, Foreign Affairs, Newsweek, Businessweek, The Journal of Commerce, National Geographic, and dozens of academic and specialty publications. He is also a contributing writer to The Washington Post Global Opinions section and, most recently, to Newsweek Japan.


Hussein Ibish is a senior resident scholar at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington. He is a weekly columnist for Bloomberg and The National (UAE) and is also a regular contributor to many other U.S. and Middle Eastern publications. He has made thousands of radio and television appearances and was the Washington, DC correspondent for The Daily Star (Beirut). Ibish previously served as a senior fellow at the American Task Force on Palestine, and executive director of the Hala Salaam Maksoud Foundation for Arab American Leadership from 2004-09. From 1998-2004, Ibish served as communications director for the American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee. He has a PhD in comparative literature from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

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