Event ReportsPublished on Nov 22, 2007
Elevating India's standing in world politics, it has been invited to the next week's Annapolis conference on West Asia, convened by the United States, and it would be taking part in the conference, the Special Envoy of the Prime Minister of India for West Asia and Middle East Peace Process, Mr. C.R. Gharekhan announced here today.
India confident of Annapolis conference success

Elevating India’s standing in world  politics, it has been invited to the next week’s Annapolis conference on West Asia, convened by the United States, and it would be taking part in the conference, the Special Envoy of the Prime Minister of India for West Asia and Middle East Peace Process, Mr. C.R. Gharekhan announced here today.
Gharekhan, giving the valedictory address to the two-day international conference on "Emerging security concerns in West Asia" organised by Observer Research Foundation and Rosa Luxumburg Foundation of Germany, said that during his visits to West Asian States, he had been invariably told my his interlocutors of India’s ability to play an important role in the region.
"India is perhaps a unique country with a fully functioning democracy, a multi-religious, multi-ethnic and multi-lingual pluralist society. India thus could provide a model to the societies in West Asia. Indeed this possible role of a model has been emphasized to me by leaders in responsible positions in my conversations with them. It is in this spirit that India will participate in the Annapolis conference," said Gharekhan, who will be representing India in this important conference.
Gharekhan said that the very fact that the conference is being convened would suggest that adequate common ground has been achieved between the two sides during their pre-negotiations, bilateral as well as with the active participation and involvement of the US Secretary of State   Ms. Condoleezza Rice, for the American government to feel encouraged enough to issue the invitations.  
"(Palestine) President Abbas as well as the Arab States were understandably reluctant to attend the meeting if it was going to turn out to be merely another photo opportunity. The Palestinians would like the Annapolis to be a genuine launching pad for intensive, meaningful and well-directed negotiations, covering all aspects, to be concluded within a definite timeframe."
Gharekhan said the Israeli Prime Minister seemed to want to engage in purposeful negotiations with President Abbas, in whom he says he has a credible negotiating partner.
"I am personally convinced that President Abbas is committed to finding a reasonable settlement and will not shy away from reaching an agreement if he is genuinely satisfied about reasonableness, even if it will not meet all the demands of the Palestinian people,"
Gharekhan said.
Gharekhan said that it is of the utmost importance that the Annapolis meeting not fail or be perceived to fail by either side. "Yet another failure would have negative consequences and would greatly strengthen the extremist and radical forces," he said.
Gharekhan said Syria’s dispute with Israel, on paper, be even easier to be resolved. He noted that Israel and Syria had come very close to reaching a solution two years back. He said Israel knows and acknowledges the fact that it has to vacate the Golan Heights.
Gharekhan said in this age of globalization, terrorism has also been globalised and noted with concern that West Asia has emerged as one of the two most important breeding grounds of terrorism. "Indeed, globalization of telecommunications has facilitated the growth of global terrorism. India, being next door to West Asia, has every reason to feel worried and concerned," he said.
Gharekhan said India is also worried about the growing tension between Shia and Sunni Muslims, especially after the Iraq invasion, with India’s own Muslim population being the second largest in the world.
"We must not and will not permit external influences to vitiate this harmonious atmosphere, for that we shall have to remain vigilant," Gharekhan said.
The two-day ORF-RLF seminar was inaugurated by the Vice President of India, Mr. Hamid Ansari on Wednesday and saw a special address by the Minister of State, Mr. Ejaz Ahamed.
The conference looked at various aspects impacting the emerging security situation in the region, including role of ideology, ideological radicalization, political developments in the region and their impact on stability and security, role of external and regional powers and desirable policy options for India and Europe.
Many foreign scholars and experts like Prof. Faisal O. Al-Rfouh, former Minister of Culture in Jordan, Prof. Norman Paech, MP of the German Bundestag, Dr. Michael Brie, vice-chairman, RLF, Dr. Siret Hursory (Turkey), Prof. Khaldoun H. Al-Naqeeb (Kuwait),   Mr. Mohammed Wahby (Egypt), Dr. Werner Ruf, Dr. Sabine Hofmann, Dr. Claudia Haydt, Dr. Erhard Crome (all Europe), Dr. Sadegh Zibakalam (Iran) and Dr. Sahar Al Majali (Jordan) participated in the conference besides domain experts from India. 

Text of full speech of Gharekhan is available

The views expressed above belong to the author(s). ORF research and analyses now available on Telegram! Click here to access our curated content — blogs, longforms and interviews.