A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to travel to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates as a delegate for the Future Diplomats Peace Game. I was representing SOAS, University of London, my post-graduate institution and specifically the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy at the conference, which aims to bring together future leaders to ‘game out’ resolutions to serious conflicts in the world. It was sponsored by Foreign Policy, Harvard’s Belfer Center and the Emirates Diplomatic Academy. You can read more about my time in Abu Dhabi on the SOAS website.
The theme of this year’s conference was a nuclear crisis between India and Pakistan, and I represented India in the crisis exercise, together with a colleague from Egypt.
The conference started off with a full-day of workshops dedicated to giving participants background information on the politics and foreign policy concerns of the South Asian region, with a particular focus on the conflict between India and Pakistan, and also provide a primer on nuclear diplomacy, crisis prevention and crisis management. Many of the topics reinforced my knowledge from past conferences and workshops, as well as from my studies at SOAS. Of course, I asked all the presenters several questions!
The second day, we participated in DiploCon, the Abu Dhabi Diplomacy Conference, which focused on the future of diplomacy, including gender, training, technology and culture. I had the chance to speak during a roundtable discussion on gender and diplomacy.
The third day was the PeaceGame itself. The participants were divided into teams of two. I was representing India, along with a colleague from Egypt, and other participants represented Pakistan, United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Japan, Mexico, Ethiopia, South Africa and Iran. The day proceeded through a series of three video ‘moves’ that outlined the crisis and progressively increased the tension.
In the first move, we learned there was a terrorist attack in New Delhi and Indian intelligence revealed the terrorist cell was hiding in Pakistan. As a result, Indian troops crossed the Pakistani border and Pakistan responded by moving a nuclear weapon to the border. In the second move, terrorists seized some fissile material, while in the third move the Pakistani government had recovered the material, but the United Nations Security Council was calling for new regulations around nuclear weapons. One of the local newspapers, The National, covered the PeaceGame.
Overall, I am super proud to have had this opportunity and hope to bring the experience and teachings to my future endeavours.