A former naval officer, Abhijit Singh is a Senior Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) where he heads the Maritime Policy Initiative. He is a keen commentator on maritime matters and has written extensively on security and governance issues in the Indian Ocean and Pacific littorals. Editor of two books on maritime security—Indian Ocean Challenges: a Quest for Cooperative Solutions (2013) and Geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific (2014), Abhijit has published papers on India’s growing maritime reach, security of sea-lines of communication in the IndoPacific region, Indian Ocean governance issues and maritime infrastructure in the Asian littorals. In 2010, Abhijit assisted the late Vice Admiral GM Hiranandani (Retd) in the authorship of the third volume of Indian Naval History, Transition to Guardianship. Prior to joining ORF, he was a Research Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses at New Delhi.
Ambassador (Ret.) Ahmed Salem Saleh Al-Wahishi, Ph.D. has served as Chief Representative of the League of Arab States in India. He has served as Ambassador of Yemen in Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam, and also been Head of Mission in Dubai and Tokyo. Dr Al-Wahishi has taken several initiatives to strengthen the ties between North Africa, South and West Asia and globally by organizing several events with various associations. As Executive Director of Yemeni International Affairs’ Centre (YIAC), he has organized and participated in several events, and carried various activities including research work on Political, Economic and Social issues in the Middle East as well as question of Peace, Security and Disarmament regionally and internationally. He has been a Professor in the University of Aden.Dr AlWahishi has a Doctorate degree (Ph.D) in Economics from Czech Republic a Diploma in International Law from Moscow University and a Fellowship in International Law from UNITAR, Geneva. He is an alumnus of the NESA centre in the National Defence University, Washington, USA.
Alex Benkenstein is the Programme Head of the Governance of Africa’s Resources Programme of the South African Institute of International Affairs, which he joined in November 2010. His work in SAIIA has focused on a number of resource governancerelated issues, particularly in the fields of fisheries, ocean governance and mining. Through his work with SAIIA he has collaborated with a number of partners in the public and private sector, for example, the World Gold Council (Standards for Conflict-Free Gold), the Southern African Development Community (SADC Think Tank Forum on Climate Change), the New Partnership For Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Agency, and the Benguela Current Commission. Alex graduated from the University of Stellenbosch with a Masters Degree in International Studies (cum laude). As a researcher for the South African consultancy Managing for Excellence he completed projects for various clients, including the Parliament of South Africa. He was subsequently appointed as Head of Research for the NGO Regency Foundation Networx, where his work focused on climate change, particularly private sector corporate social responsibility (CSR) responses to emerging issues surrounding climate change. In 2016 he completed a second Masters Degree (Programme Evaluation) at the University of Cape Town.
Vice Admiral Anup Singh (Retd) is a former C-in-C of the Eastern Naval Command. Engaged with the seminar/dialogue circuit, his areas of specialisation include Maritime Security, China’s Maritime Activism, Energy Security, and the Law of the Sea. He is visiting faculty at the National Defence College (NDC) and the Foreign Service Institute (FSI), New Delhi. Associated with some Think Tanks in honorary capacity, he is Director (Strategic Studies) at the Society for Indian Ocean Studies (SIOS); Visiting Fellow, Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF), Member Executive Council, IDSA; and Advisor (History), Indian Navy.
Ms Chen Chenchen is Deputy Director and Research fellow of Department of Macroeconomics, Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China (RDCY), a leading think tank in China, where she focuses on studies of global governance. Chen has served as editorial writer and director of OpinionEditorial Department at the Global Times English Edition, a national newspaper based in Beijing, and won China News Awards in 2014. She joined the RDCY after accomplishing Oxford University’s annual fellowship program in politics and media in 2015. She is an alumnus of the Nanjing University, and Johns Hopkins University-Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies.
Chris O’Brien works for Food and Agricultural Organisation (UN) of the United Nations (UN) and is heading a global project supporting sustainable deep sea fisheries in areas beyond national jurisdiction. Chris has a Ph.D. in marine ecology from the University of New South Wales, Australia, and has worked at the science-management interface of fisheries for over 25 years. He started his career in Australia, spent 8 years in New Zealand as a science manager at the Ministry of Fisheries before heading west in 2004 to take up the role of Deputy Secretary at the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission. Before the Deep Seas Project, Chris managed the eight country, Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem Project, in which India played a major role. This project developed a coordinated programme of action designed to improve the lives of the coastal populations through improved regional management of the Bay of Bengal environment and its fisheries.
Christopher Wood is an economist focusing on trade and industry policy at Trade and Industry Policy Strategies (TIPS), a not-for-profit economic research organisation based in Pretoria, South Africa. He previously worked as a researcher in economic diplomacy at the South African Institute of International Affairs, and has completed consulting work with Oxford Analytica, Executive Research Associates, the Swiss South Africa Joint Research Programme, and a leading South African trade union. His research areas include trade and industrial policy, global economic governance, and financial regulatory reform. He holds a Masters in Development Studies from the University of the Witwatersrand, and a Bachelor of Social Science in Economics and Political Science from the University of KwaZulu Natal.
Dr Girish Gujar is currently a visiting lecturer at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He is an ex-marine chief engineer with over a decade long sea faring experience on board various kinds of ships. He also has extensive experience in the logistics industry having worked in India, Middle East and Europe for 15 years. In addition to a PhD from Erasmus University Rotterdam, he has Master degrees in Financial Management and Maritime Economics and Law. His research interests include dry port development, port economics and maritime security. He has published numerous papers in highly reputed peer reviewed journals on the maritime and supply chain management related subjects apart from three books.
Dr Ha Anh Tuan is a senior researcher and Director of Center for Policy Analysis, Bien Dong Maritime Institute, the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam. Tuan completed his Masters Degree at the Australian National University and PhD Degree at the University of New South Wales (Australia). Tuan has authored or co-authored many articles on international relations and security issues in the South China Sea.
Dr Hans Hoogeveen serves as Ambassador/ Permanent Representative of the Kingdom of Netherlands to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations. Earlier, he was the Director General for Agriculture and Nature Management at the Netherlands Ministry of Economic Affairs. Dr Hoogeveen is the most senior civil servant to lead the agriculture, agribusiness, food safety, food security, veterinary and plant health, international affairs, including the European Common Agricultural Policy and the Common Fisheries Policy, international food security, the FAO and other UN affairs, trade liberalisation (WTO), market access and nature/ biodiversity management agendas. He has served in numerous international functions, including as Chair of the Bureau of the Seventh Session of the United Nations Forum on Forests. Under his leadership in 2007, after 15 years of stalled international negotiations, an international instrument was adopted, which was hailed as a landmark achievement by the UN Secretary General. For his achievements within the Forum, Dr Hoogeveen received an UN award during the High-Level Special Event on the UN General Assembly’s adoption of the international forest instrument.
Professor Harsh V Pant is a Distinguished Fellow and Head of ORF’s Strategic Studies programme. He holds a joint appointment with the Department of Defence Studies and King’s India Institute as Professor of International Relations. He is also a Non-Resident Fellow with the Wadhwani Chair in US-India Policy Studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, DC. Professor Pant has been a Visiting Professor at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore; a Visiting Fellow at the Center for the Advanced Study of India, University of Pennsylvania; a Visiting Scholar at the Center for International Peace and Security Studies, McGill University; and an Emerging Leaders Fellow at the Australia-India Institute, University of Melbourne. Professor Pant’s current research is focused on Asian security issues. His most recent books include The US Pivot and Indian Foreign Policy (Palgrave Macmillan), Handbook of Indian Defence Policy (Routledge), India’s Afghan Muddle (HarperCollins), and The USIndia Nuclear Pact: Policy, Process and Great Power Politics (Oxford University Press). Professor Pant writes regularly for various Indian and international media outlets including the Japan Times, the Wall Street Journal, the National (UAE), the Hindustan Times, and the Telegraph.
Harsha de Silva entered the Sri Lankan parliament in 2010, following a successful career in the private sector as an economist, development banker, international consultant and entrepreneur. He was hand-picked by the United National Party (UNP) leader and current Prime Minister to enter politics on the National List. In 2015 he was elected from the district of Colombo with over a hundred thousand preference votes. As Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs since August 2015, Harsha has been charged with leading a reorientation of Sri Lanka’s foreign policy towards economic diplomacy. Harsha has a PhD in economics from the University of Missouri and has had executive training at MIT. He has taught at universities in the US and Sri Lanka. He was 2011 Philip D Reed outstanding Eisenhower Fellow.
Dr Hasjim Djalal is a retired Indonesian diplomat and a Professor of Maritime Law. A graduate of the Indonesian Academy for Foreign Service in Jakarta (1956), he has an M.A (1959) and Ph.D (1961) from the University of Virginia. After passing out from the Indonesian National Defense Institute (LEMHANNAS) in 1971, Dr Djalal was the Director of Treaty and Legal Affairs of the Indonesian Department of Foreign Affairs (1976-1979) and Director General for Policy Planning (1985-1990). He has served at the Indonesian Embassies in Belgrade (1964-1966), Guinea (Africa), Singapore, Washington DC. and Ambassador/ Deputy Permanent Representative of Indonesia to the UN in New York (1981-1983), Ambassador to Canada (1983-1985), Germany (1990-1993) and Ambassador-at-large for the Law of the Sea and Maritime Affairs (1994-2000). He participated fully in the Third UN Law of the Sea Conference (1973- 1982) and in its implementation thereafter, as well as in other maritime activities, nationally, regionally and internationally. Dr Djalal was President of the International Seabed Authority (ISBA) in Jamaica (1995, 1996) and has been the initiator and convener of the Workshop Process on Managing Potential Conflicts in the South China Sea. He has also been involved in development of maritime cooperation in the Indian and Pacific Oceans and has written extensively on the Law of the Sea and Regional issues.
Shri Justice (Retd) P. Sathasivam is the Governor of the state of Kerala. In the early years of his career, he served as an advocate, special government pleader and legal adviser to several public organisations. Having served as a judge in the Madras High Court and the High Court of Punjab and Haryana in later years, he was elevated to the post of Judge in the Supreme Court in 2007. He was sworn in as the 40th Chief Justice of India on 19 July 2013, a position he held until 26 April 2014. As Governor of Kerala, he has pioneered a quality improvement drive in higher education by instituting the Chancellor’s Award for the best University in the State. His keen-eyes interest in agriculture, concern for the welfare of farmers and commitment to social justice and democratic values have made him a people’s Governor.
Ms Imali Udeshika Manikarachchi is a lecturer of Ocean University of Sri Lanka. She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Fisheries and Marine Sciences from Ruhuna University of Sri Lanka. She worked at the same University as an assistant lecturer for one and half years and then joined the Ocean University of Sri Lanka as a lecturer. She received a prestigious Sasakawa Fellowship administrated by the Ocean Policy Research Foundation in Tokyo, to pursue a Masters Degree in Maritime Affairs from the World Maritime University, Sweden. Her area of specialization extends to Marine Environment Management and her Masters Dissertation was under the title of “Stepping up from Green Revolution to Blue Economy: A new paradigm for Sustainable Development in South Asia”. Her major academic duties include teaching and conducting researches on marine scientific aspects. She has published several articles, papers and abstracts on various topics relevant to Marine Ecology, Marine management and Blue Economy.
James Kraska is Howard S. Levie Professor in the Stockton Center for the Study of International Law at the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island and a Visiting Professor of Law, Harvard Law School in 2017-18. He is also Distinguished Fellow at the Law of the Sea Institute, University of California Berkeley School of Law and Senior Fellow at the Center for Oceans Law and Policy at the University of Virginia School of Law, an Honorary Visiting Professor at Gujarat National Law University, a Lifetime Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. Previously, he was an endowed visiting scholar at Duke University Marine Laboratory and Fellow at the Marine Policy Center at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
Jayanth Colambage is a former Chief of Sri Lanka navy and a leading maritime analyst. A highly decorated officer, he retired in 2014, after 37 years of glorious service. The Admiral is a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College in India and Royal College of Defence Studies, UK. He holds a PhD from General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University (Sri Lanka); an MSc from Madras University and MA on International Studies from Kings College, London. Dr Colambage is a visiting lecturer at Defence Services Command and Staff college, Kotelawala Defence University, Bandaranaike Center for International Studies and Bandaranaike International Diplomatic Training Center. He has also been the Chairman of Sri Lanka Shipping Corporation and an adviser to the President of Sri Lanka on maritime affairs. He is a Fellow of Nautical Institute, London UK and a member of the Advisory Council of ‘Institute of National Security Studies, Sri Lanka’.
Joris Larik is a Senior Researcher at The Hague Institute for Global Justice and Assistant Professor at Leiden University. His research focusses on regional organizations in international law and relations, comparative and multilevel constitutional law, and global governance reform. At The Hague Institute, Dr Larik leads projects on Oceans Governance and EU Foreign Policy. He is the author of Foreign Policy Objectives in European Constitutional Law (Oxford University Press, 2016) and co-author of ASEAN’s External Agreements: Law, Practice and the Quest for Collective Action (Cambridge University Press, 2015), and has published in various peer-reviewed law and international relations journals. His work has been acknowledged with several awards, including NATO’s Manfred Wörner Essay Award (2008) and the Mauro Cappelletti Prize for the Best Thesis in Comparative Law (2014) from the European University Institute (EUI).
Juita Mohamad is Economist, at the Asia Desk, OECD Development Centre since May 2016. Before joining the OECD, she was a Senior Analyst in Economics at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies, Malaysia. She obtained her PhD in International Studies from Waseda University, Tokyo, and MA in Economics from Shiga University, Japan. In Tokyo, she held a Research Associate position at the Asian Development Bank Institute. She was also involved in research activities with the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA). Her interests are in regional integration, trade reforms and wage inequality.
Kees Rade is the Ambassador for Sustainable Development, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, where he also heads the Directorate for Climate, Water, Food Security, Energy, Natural Resources and Polar Policy. Mr. Rade is a career diplomat for 30 years and he has held several positions at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in The Hague as well as at the Permanent Mission to the UN in New York and at the Embassy in Nairobi. He has served as Ambassador in Managua from 2001 to 2005 and in Brasilia from 2009 to 2014. He holds degrees in both Law & International Relations from the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
Kithmina Hewage is a Research Officer at Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) in Colombo, Sri Lanka. His work is mainly based on international political economics, foreign direct investment, international trade policy, and private sector development. He completed his undergraduate degree at the Johns Hopkins University with departmental and university honours. Kithmina graduated from University College London (UCL) with an MSc. in International Public Policy and authored a thesis on the political-economy of foreign aid at the World Trade Organization (WTO). His other publications discuss issues such as the influence of victim-politics in post-conflict societies, improving regional cooperation through aid for trade, and investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms. His articles have also appeared in the International Public Policy Review and The Diplomat. Kithmina is a member the World Economic Forum’s Expert Network.
Ambassador Bhagirath is the Secretary-General of Indian Ocean Rim Association, a position to which he was elected during the IORA Council of Ministers’ Meeting in November 2011. An alumnus of St. Stephens College, Delhi University and Jawaharial Nehru University, New Delhi, he went on to join the Indian Foreign Service in 1979. During his diplomatic career spanning over three decades, he has undertaken assignments in the Middle East, Latin America, Europe and Africa, with postings in Damascus, Syria from 1981 to 1983, Havana, Cuba from 1989 to 1993, London, United Kingdom from 1993 to 1997, Mauritius from 1997 to 2001, Paris from 2004 to 2007, and Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania from October, 2007 to 2011.
A former Deputy National Security Adviser of India, Latha Reddy is a Distinguished Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, the East West Institute, and the Centre for International Governance Innovation. She has served in the Indian Foreign Service from 1975-2011, during which time she has served tenures in Lisbon, Washington D.C., Kathmandu, Brasilia, Durban, Vienna and Bangkok. She has been Ambassador of India to Portugal (2004-2006) and to Thailand (2007-2009). Ms Reddy was Secretary (East) in the Ministry of External Affairs in Delhi (2010-2011) with overall charge of India’s bilateral and regional relations with Asia. She was on the Global Commission for Internet Governance (2014-2016), and is currently the Co-Chair of the Global Commission on Stability in Cyberspace. Ms. Reddy has extensive experience in foreign policy, and in bilateral, regional and multilateral negotiations. In addition, she has expertise on security and strategic issues and has worked on strategic technology policies, particularly on cyber issues relating to cyber security policy, international cyber cooperation and Internet governance.
Lucas Lourens is a Professor of Paleoclimatology at the Utrecht University. A geologist by training, he has held a variety of positions at the Utrecht University (1994-1999), the Free University of Amsterdam (1999-2000) and the CNRS-Cerege in Aix en Provence (2000-2001). In 2002, he received the Vidi award from the Netherlands Scientific Organization (NWO) to study the changes in the speed of the Earth’s rotational axis on geological time scales. During his research, he participated in expeditions to the Walvis Ridge (Leg 208) and Gulf of Cadiz (EXP 339) with the international Ocean Drilling Program (ODP/IODP). Lucas is the recipient of the Vici award from NWO, which has allowed him to carry out further investigations of the influence and evolution of astronomically-forced climate changes during the Greenhouse and Icehouse Worlds of the Cenozoic. He is also a recipient of the Jean Baptiste Lamarck medal for my research efforts in stratigraphy at the European Geosciences Union.
Maarten Bavinck is a Professor in the Department of Geography, Planning and International Development Studies (GPIO) of the University of Amsterdam and a member of the Governance and Inclusive Development programme group. He also holds a chair in coastal resource governance at the Norwegian Fisheries College of the Norges Arktisk University in Tromso, Norway. Maarten now also serves as the Director of CERES Research School for International Development (2016-2019). Prof Bavinck specialises in the governance of capture fisheries, particularly in the South, and is especially interested in the fate of small-scale fisher peoples. His own fieldwork is concentrated in South Asia (India and Sri Lanka). His theoretical perspectives are interactive governance, legal pluralism, and political ecology. Prof Baninck is founder and co-director of the social-science Centre for Maritime Studies (MARE), and founding associate editor of the journal Maritime Studies. He also co-edits (with SveinJentoft) the MARE Publication Series, published by Springer. He has recently served as president of the International Commission on Legal Pluralism (2008-2015), and is now director of CERES Research School for International Development in the Netherlands.
With a background of over 25 years of research and professional experience in WTO matters, Globalization, Regional Integration/FTAs, Trade Policy, Connectivity, Investment and Industry-related issues, Manab Majumdar is currently the Deputy Secretary General of FICCI, the premier apex business Chamber of India. He also serves as Cluster Head/Lead of the Trade Policy, Trade Facilitation and Transport Infrastructure Divisions of the Federation. Manab has been closely involved in the negotiation and industry consultation processes for a number of FTAs involving India. He participated in several WTO Ministerial Conferences and was a member of the Indian official delegation to the Hong Kong Ministerial Manab represented the Indian private sector in a large number of national & international conferences and High-Level Policy Dialogues organized by WTO, UN-ESCAP, Asian Development Bank and International Trade Centre (ITC), Geneva. He also serves as member of various Expert Committees and Working Groups.
Capt. Martin A. Sebastian is a Senior Fellow and Centre Head at the Centre for Maritime Security and Diplomacy, in the Maritime Institute of Malaysia (MIMA). A former officer in the Royal Malaysian Navy, he spent three years of Secondment with the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO), United Nations Headquarters, at New York. He has served in the Office of Military Affairs (OMA) as a Strategic Planner in the Military Planning Service (MPS). Capt Martin pioneered the setting up of a maritime planning section in MPS and was appointed as the OMA Team Leader for the Maritime Working Group, which monitored planning requirements for the UNIFIL Multinational Maritime Operations in Lebanon and riverine operations in peacekeeping missions. He is a country representative in the Council for Security Cooperation in the Asia Pacific (CSCAP) and Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Maritime Security Study Group. His field of expertise on Maritime Security is in Diplomatic Engagements, Conventional Operations, Law Enforcement, Maritime Industry and Maritime Search and Rescue; and Humanitarian Disaster Relief from the Sea.
Dr Narasimalu Srikanth is with Energy Research Institute at Singapore as a Senior Scientist and Program Director leading the wind and marine renewable research towards tropical regional needs. He has more than 25 years of Industrial experience and earlier he was with Vestas Wind systems as a senior specialist and Technical Director in the Research and Development department, leading some of the key research activities related to onshore and offshore wind turbines. Earlier, he also served at ASM Technology Singapore, leading the research and development of semiconductor equipment and with Tata engineering (TELCO) at Pune (India) focusing on heavy machinery design. He received his first masters from Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, India in machine design and his second masters in materials engineering and his first PhD in the area of mechanical engineering and a second PhD in Technology Management from National University of Singapore (NUS). Dr Narasimalu has published in more than 100 international journals and has more than 30 patents. His areas of technical research interests are wind and tidal turbine development, renewable resource mapping and forecasting, structural health monitoring and simulation methods. He is a member of OES, ASME, ASM, ASPE, IEEE and MRS(S).
Dr Nirmal Shah is an award-winning Seychelles ecologist, environmentalist, writer, educator and civil society leader with 35 years of experience in the government, private and NGO sectors as well as having been a consultant for international organisations such as the World Bank, IUCN, BirdLife International, UNESCO, UNDP, UNEP, etc. He is Chief Executive of Nature Seychelles, Managing Director of ENVI.R.O, the government of Seychelles’ Special Envoy for Environment and Climate Change and the Chair of the National Environment Advisory Council. Nirmal sits on many national and international boards. He has led some of the most inspiring and successful conservation projects in the African and Indian Ocean Regions including saving critically endangered birds from extinction and creating the world’s largest coral reef restoration program. He has appeared on many international media programs including on CNN, BBC, PBS, Doordashan, CCTV, Reuters, SABC andlive on NBC’s The Today Show
Paul Holthus is the founding CEO of the World Ocean Council, the international business leadership alliance on “Corporate Ocean Responsibility”. The WOC brings together seabed mining, oil/gas, shipping, fisheries, aquaculture, tourism, offshore renewables, submarine cables, and other ocean industries – creating ocean business community leadership and collaboration in addressing shared marine sustainability challenges. Paul has held senior positions with the UN Environment Program and international environment organizations, including as Deputy Director of the IUCN Global Marine Programme. Since 1998, Paul has worked with the private sector to develop practical solutions to sustainable ocean development. He has worked in over 30 countries with companies, communities, industry associations, UN agencies, NGOs, foundations and governments. He is a graduate of the University of California and University of Hawaii, with advanced degrees and certificates in geography and international business. He was a Fulbright scholar in Australia and is an East-West Center alum.
S. Paul Kapur is Professor in the Department of National Security Affairs at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. He is also an affiliate at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation, and a Visiting Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi. Previously, he was on the faculty of the U.S. Naval War College and Claremont McKenna College, and was a Visiting Professor at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation. His research and teaching interests include the strategic use of militancy, nuclear weapons proliferation, deterrence, and South Asian and Pacific Ocean regional security. Kapur is author of Dangerous Deterrent: Nuclear Weapons Proliferation and Conflict in South Asia (Stanford University Press, 2007) and co-author of India, Pakistan, and the Bomb: Debating Nuclear Stability in South Asia (Columbia University Press, 2010). His articles have appeared in leading journals such as International Security, Security Studies, Asian Survey, Washington Quarterly, and in a variety of edited volumes. Kapur manages several strategic engagement projects for the U.S. Department of Defense. He received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago and his B.A. from Amherst College.
Ms. Pooja Kapur joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1996 and is currently posted as Joint Secretary (ASEAN Multilateral) in the Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi. She has previously served at Indian Missions in Paris, London, Kuala Lumpur and Brussels. In the MEA, she has held charges pertaining to India’s relationship with Western Europe, South East Asia, the United Nations and the Commonwealth. Ms. Kapur maintains a keen interest in international politics and has co-authored a book entitled Comparative Government and Politics: Concepts and Emerging Trends. She is the chief coordinator of the Delhi Dialogue and chairs the Advisory Board of the ASEAN Studies Centre in Shillong. Ms. Kapur has previously served on the Advisory Boards of several India-focussed groupings abroad such as the UK-India Business Council’s Next Generation Network; University of Greenwich’s Centre for Indian Business; South East England Regional Development Agency’s India Board; and the Indian Maritime Association, London.
Dr Prabhakaran Paleri is a former Director General of Indian Guard with naval and marine customs background. Post retirement, he is engaged in corporate governance, academics, and research in strategic studies and business management. Presently he is a visiting senior professor in business administration and advisor at Chinmaya Institute of Technology, Kannur, Kerala. An engineering graduate, Dr Paleri holds a post graduate degree in business administration and fellow in shipping management. He also has a master’s degree in national security strategy from National Defense University, Washington, D.C., where he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009. He had authored eight books and published various papers. His books include National Security: Imperatives and Challenges, Maritime Security: the Unlawful Dimension, Marine Environment: Management and People’s Participation, Integrated Maritime Security: Governing the Ghost Protocol, World Coast Guards and Emerging Maritime Threats, and a text book in Business Environment. While in service, he has been awarded with the coast guard medal, commendation from the Central Board of Excise and Customs and the President’s coast guard medal.
Cdr Prakash Gopal is a Research Fellow at the National Maritime Foundation. Commissioned into the Indian Navy in July 1997, he is a Communications and Electronics Warfare specialist. In a career spanning 20 years, he has served on a number of frontline warships which include the destroyers INS Delhi, Rajput and Ranjit as well as the missile corvettes Vinash and Kirch. He has also commanded the Anti-Submarine Corvette INS Ajay—based at Mumbai. He is a graduate of the Australian Command and Staff College at Canberra and holds a Masters degree in Maritime Studies from the University of Wollongong, Australia.
Raghu Raman is Group President (Risk, Security and New Ventures) at Reliance Industries and the former founding CEO of National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID), Government of India. Previously, Raghu led Mahindra First Choice, Mahindra Special Services Group and Mahindra–British Aerospace joint venture as the CEO. He is a distinguished fellow at the Observer Research Foundation and a frequent guest faculty member at several prestigious business schools globally. Mr Raman writes a column on national security strategy and leadership for leading publications and has also authored a bestseller, Everyman’s War, published by Random House.
Ambassador Rajiv Bhatia IFS (retd.) is Distinguished Fellow, Gateway House, Mumbai and Chair of FICCI’s Task Force on Blue Economy. He is a former Ambassador/High Commissioner to Myanmar, Mexico, Kenya and South Africa. In 2016, he served as a member of India-Indonesia Eminent Persons Group (EPG) at the request of the Government of India. As Director General of the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) from 2012-15, he played a key role in strengthening India’s Track-II research and outreach activities. During his tenure, a series of conferences on the Indian Ocean as well Asian and African issues were organised by this institution. A prolific columnist, he regularly contributes articles on foreign affairs to a variety of publications. Amb. Bhatia holds a Masters degree in political science from Allahabad University. His book IndiaMyanmar Relations: Changing contours (Routledge 2016) has received critical acclaim. He is known to be working on a book on India-Africa relations.
Ambassador Rakesh Sood is a Distinguished Fellow at ORF. A former diplomat, with 38 years of experience in foreign affairs, economic diplomacy and international security issues, he has served in Indian missions in Brussels, Dakar, Geneva and Islamabad and Deputy Chief of Mission in Washington. Amb Sood set up the Disarmament and International Security Affairs Division in the Foreign Ministry, which he led for nine years till the end of 2000. During this period, he was in charge of multilateral disarmament negotiations, bilateral dialogues with Pakistan, strategic dialogues with other countries, including the US, UK, France and Israel, and dealt with India’s role in the ASEAN Regional Forum, as part of the ‘Look East’ policy. Amb Sood served as India’s first Ambassador — Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament at the United Nations in Geneva. He also chaired a number of international working groups, including those relating to negotiations on landmines, cluster munitions, and was a member of UN Secretary General’s Disarmament Advisory Board from 2002 to 2003. He also served as ambassador to Afghanistan, Nepal and France; during 2013-14, he served as Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Disarmament and Nonproliferation issues.
Roel van der Veen is a Professor of International Relations at the University of Amsterdam and an expert on historical development issues. He has also served with the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs in positions at The Hague and as a political officer at the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Jakarta, Indonesia. His work for the MFA focused especially on Dutch relations with Africa and Asia, and with policy development and strategy. Since 2007, he is the Academic Advisor of the Netherlands MFA. Over the course of his career, he has successfully combined his work for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with scientific research. Most of his research projects have been themed around his international activities: the development of and relations with Africa and Asia. Amongst other responsibilities, he has worked for the strategic policy staff, for the Africa department, the Asia department, professor of International Relations at the Africa department and the Asia department. He has also served as secretary of the Advisory Council on International Affairs and researcher at the Netherlands Institute of International Relations ‘Clingendael’.
Roy has been involved in many aspects of the seafood industry since 1972. He has worked as a consultant for both the FAO and the World Bank and has been involved with organisations covering all aspects of the seafood industry which has seen him travel extensively. Having worked with CONAPESCA since 2013, he is acknowledged by the Commissioner of Fisheries & Aquaculture and the Mexican Government as a catalyst in their increase in seafood consumption, and was recently engaged in Saudi Arabia to attempt a similar activity. In 2010, Roy became a Director of Aquaculture without Frontiers, where he has several roles relating to the organisations within the volunteer charity group. In 2011, he founded The Association of International Seafood Professionals (AISP) and that has now grown to connecting with over 70,000 seafood people globally. AISP is unique in many ways and aims to be a promoter and facilitator in taking the seafood industry to levels so far unseen. Roy is a leader of change and has recently become a part of the extremely talented multi-faceted team at Earth Twine, USA.
Dr Shafiah Muhibat is a Senior Fellow at the Maritime Security Programme, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Singapore. She is also affiliated with the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Indonesia as a Senior Researcher. She has done and taken part in extensive research projects on politics and regional security in Southeast Asia and the Asia Pacific since 2000. She has a special interest in issues of regional security in East Asia, maritime security, Indonesia’s foreign policy, and regional cooperation. She was the Chief Editor of The Indonesian Quarterly, a quarterly academic journal published by CSIS, from 2013 to 2016. She was also a lecturer at two private universities in Jakarta from 2005 to 2009. She obtained a PhD in Political Science from the University of Hamburg in 2013, and a Master’s degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in 2003.
An author, politician, and former international civil servant, Dr Shashi Tharoor straddles several worlds of experience. Currently a second-term Lok Sabha Member of Parliament (MP) representing the Thiruvananthapuram constituency and Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on External Affairs, he has previously served as Minister of State for Human Resource Development and Minister of State for External Affairs in the Government of India. During his nearly three-decade long prior career at the United Nations, he served as a peacekeeper, refugee worker, and administrator at the highest levels, serving as Under-Secretary General during Kofi Annan’s leadership of the organisation. Dr Tharoor is also an award-winning author of sixteen books of both fiction as well as non-fiction. Educated in India and the United States, DrTharoor completed his PhD in 1978 from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at the Tufts University. While there, he received the Robert B. Stewart Prize for Best Student and also helped found and served as the first Editor of the Fletcher Forum of International Affairs, a journal now in its 39thyear. Dr Tharoor was also awarded an honorary D.Litt by the University of Puget Sound and a Doctorate Honoris Causa in History by the University of Bucharest. In 1998 the World Economic Forum in Davos named him a “Global Leader of Tomorrow”. He is also a recipient of several awards that include a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman, India’s highest honour for overseas nationals.
Shri Pinarayi Vijayan is the Honourable Chief Minister of Kerala. A Polit Bureau member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), he served as the secretary of Kerala State Committee of CPI (M) from 1998 to 2015. He was also a Minister of Electricity and Co-operatives in the Kerala government from 1996 to 1998, during which time he was instrumental in strengthening the cooperatives movement of the state. He is credited with having brought Kerala out of darkness by implemented critical power projects on a war footing.
Sujeet Samaddar is a retired naval officer and senior consultant with the Niti Aayog. After graduating from IIT Roorkee in 1978 and completed the M.Sc and M.Phil from Madras University, he began his career as an Engineer Trainee with Tata Consulting Engineers. Commissioned into the Indian Navy in 1980, he retired from service as the Principal Director of Naval Plans. Post retirement he was Vice President Operations, NOVA Integrated Systems, a TATA Enterpriseand Director and CEO of ShinMaywa Industries India Private Limited. Cmde Samaddar has been a Visiting Fellow at the JIIA, Tokyo and at USI, New Delhi. He is an alumnus of UNU, Tokyo the College of Air Warfare, Secunderabad, Defence Services Staff College, Wellington and the National Institute for Defence Studies, Tokyo. He has been faculty at College of Naval Warfare and the Defence Services Staff College. He is Hony Advisor (A&D) FICCI and Hony Distinguished Fellow at CAPS.
Adm William McQuilkin is a retired US naval officer and a former director of the U.S. Navy’s Strategy and Policy Division (OPNAV N51). During his Navy career he served on predominantly cruiser and destroyer type ships and has commanded three U.S. Navy warships. He was also Commander of U.S. Naval Forces, Korea. He holds a Master of Science degree in Management and a Master of Arts Degree in Military History. Adm McQuilkin commanded USS Scout (MCM 8) as a lieutenant commander and deployed to the Mediterranean as part of the USS Inchon Task Group (CTG 99-1). As Commanding Officer of the USS Halyburton (FFG 40), he deployed to the North Atlantic and Mediterranean as part of the Standing Naval Force Atlantic in support of Operation Active Endeavor. He has also commanded USS Gettysburg (CG 64), serving a deployment in the Arabian Gulf as air defence commander for the Enterprise Strike Group in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. His decorations include the Defence Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (four awards), Defence Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (six awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (three awards).
Yuvan Beejadhur is the founder and CEO of ‘Beejadhur Ocean Solutions’, a private company offering holistic and integrated solutions to countries and clients wishing to build their ocean economy and explore their natural resources. Prior, Beejadhur has had a career spanning the World Bank (Team Lead, Ocean Economy) where he was responsible for leading the global engagement of several high profile agendas including oceans, ecosystem based services and food security. He has also worked with the United Nations. He is educated in Paris.