Amb (Retd.) Geetha De Silva

Secretary General – PFIOSC

Ambassador (Retd.) Geetha de Silva is the Executive Director of the South Asia Policy and Research Institute (SAPRI) based in Colombo. She was a member of the Sri Lanka Foreign Service and her last diplomatic assignment was as High Commissioner of Sri Lanka to Canada.

During her Foreign Service career spanning over 25 years she served as Deputy Chief of Mission with Ambassador rank at the Sri Lanka Embassy in Washington D.C., Counselor at the Sri Lanka Embassy in Japan, Deputy Permanent Delegate of Sri Lanka to UNESCO, and Counselor, Sri Lanka Embassy, Paris, amongst other assignments. At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs she held the positions of Additional Foreign Secretary/Political Affairs; Director General /South Asia and SAARC; and Director, United Nations/Human Rights; in addition to others.

She has participated in and contributed to international and regional conferences while she was at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and after retirement from the Ministry, during her tenures at the Regional Centre for Strategic Studies(RCSS), Sri Lanka, as Associate Director(2007-2010), at One Text Initiative(OTI), Sri Lanka, as Director (2010-2012) and during her present assignment (2012 onward).

A graduate of the University of Colombo, she holds a Masters degree in Conflict and Peace Studies from the University of Colombo and a Diploma in International Relations of the Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies. She is an alumna of the Harvard, Kennedy School, USA and the Near East & South Asia Centre for Strategic Studies (NESA) of the National Defense University of USA.

Ms. Nilanthi Samaranayake

Director Strategy and Policy Analysis, Centre for Naval Analysis

Nilanthi Samaranayake directs CNA's Strategy and Policy Analysis Program. She leads a team of analysts who conduct multidisciplinary research and analysis for civilian and military leaders on maritime strategy, nuclear policy, alliance management, Arctic strategy and policy, and non-traditional security.

Before joining CNA, she worked for a decade at the Pew Research Center in Washington, DC, where she analyzed public opinion. Since joining CNA in 2010, she has been an analyst, leading several studies on Indian Ocean strategy, including the US-India naval relationship. She provides analytic support to civilian and military leaders on US alliances and strategic partnerships, contested sovereignty and US basing rights, the development of regional and trans-regional strategies, non-traditional security issues, and small states in an era of great power competition.

She writes and speaks widely on national security issues, and her analysis has appeared in Foreign Policy, Defense One, Lawfare, War on the Rocks, and other outlets. She has appeared in media such as Al Jazeera, the New York Times, and Nikkei Asian Review. Her publications include Raging Waters: China, India, Bangladesh, and Brahmaputra River Politics (Marine Corps University Press, 2018) and "China's Engagement with Smaller South Asian Countries" (US Institute of Peace, 2019). She earned an MSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science. 

Ambassador (Retd.) Hemant Singh, I.F.S

Director General, Delhi Policy Group

Ambassador Hemant Krishan Singh served in the Indian Foreign Service from 1974-2010 and is a distinguished former career diplomat with extensive experience of geo-strategic and geo-economic issues as well as multilateral institutions which underpin international law and commerce.

He has been India's longest serving Ambassador to Japan (2006-2010), Ambassador to Indonesia and Timor Leste (2003-2006), Ambassador to Colombia, Ecuador and Costa Rica (1999-2002), and India's Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva (1995-1999). He has held several significant assignments during his career, dealing with the United States, West Europe and the European Union and India's immediate neighbours.

Ambassador Singh has contributed to the forging of the India-Japan strategic and global partnership, the intensification of India's relations with Indonesia and ASEAN, the evolution of India's revitalised Look East Policy and the shaping of India's policy towards key neighbours and strategic partners.

From 2011-2016, Ambassador Singh was Professor for Strategic Studies at ICRIER, a leading think tank in New Delhi. In June 2016, Ambassador Singh assumed responsibilities as Director General, Delhi Policy Group, which is among India's oldest independent think tanks focused on strategic issues of critical national interest. He has been associated with several public policy initiatives and Track II / Track 1.5 strategic dialogues involving major think tanks of India, US, Russia, Japan and Asia. He has written and worked extensively on the ongoing transformation of India’s foreign policy and relations with the United States and Japan and their growing convergences in shaping Asia's emerging economic and security architecture.

An alumnus of St. Stephen's College, Delhi, where he studied (1967-72) and later taught (1972-74), Ambassador Singh holds an M.A. degree from the University of Delhi. His varied interests include civilisation and culture, the natural environment and sports.


Associate Research Fellow, Center for Asian Studies

Isabelle Saint-Mézard (PhD) is a lecturer in the Geopolitics of Asia at the French Institute of Geopolitics, the University of Paris VIII. She was formerly an analyst on South Asia at the Directorate for Strategic Affairs of the French Ministry of Defence (2006-2011). She was also a research fellow on the China-India Project at the Centre of Asian Studies/ Institute of Humanities, the University of Hong Kong (2003-2006). She holds a Ph.D. in international relations from the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris.

Her research interests are mostly about South Asian geopolitics, with a special focus on India’s strategic and security issues. She also teaches at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Paris, as well as INALCO.

Mr. Tokuti Hideshi

President of Research Institute for Peace and Security

Professor Hideshi Tokuchi has been President of the Research Institute for Peace and Security (RIPS) since June 2021. He joined the Defense Agency (the predecessor of the Ministry of Defense) of Japan in 1979 as a civilian and retired from the Ministry in October 2015, after completing several senior assignments, including Director-General of the Operations Bureau, of the Personnel and Education Bureau, of the Finance and Equipment Bureau, of the Defense Policy Bureau and most recently the nation's first-ever Vice-Minister of Defense for International Affairs.

Professor Tokuchi holds several positions in academic and research institutions: Visiting Professor at National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS), Visiting Fellow at the Institute of International Relations of Sophia University, Senior Research Advisor at the Institute for International Policy Studies (IIPS).