About Synergia Conclave

The Synergia Conclave, a biennial gathering of strategic thinkers, provides a non-partisan platform for engagement, learning and discussion so that new endeavours, collaborations and policies can be formulated – to make our communities more resilient and secure.

Since 2009, the Synergia Foundation has organized five International Conclaves in Bangalore, bringing leading strategic thinkers, policy makers, academia, security practitioners, businesses, think tanks and politicians on a single non-partisan platform to ideate on topics that are likely to affect the way we live. The objective is to deep dive on issues that need interdisciplinary thinking and provide predictive frameworks based on real time information which would help us to stay 'ahead of the curve'

The first Synergia Conclave was held in 2009 in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur and the Indian institute of Management Bangalore on the topic - 'The Impact of Avian flu on Business'. The 2011 Conclave was focussed on 'Building resilient supply chains' and the threat of compromised supply chains on national security. The 2013 Conclave was centred on the theme 'Building Resilient Cities'. The fourth Synergia Conclave 2015 – Cyber 360 jointly organized with the Global Commission on Internet Governance (GCIG) was rated as one of the best conferences of the year on cybersecurity. This year, was the fifth edition of the Synergia Conclave – 'Security 360'. The conference was again rated as one of the best geo-security conferences in the world.

Synergia Conclave 2017

Theme: Reimagining Security

The focus of the Synergia Conclave 2017 was to help governments and industry reimagine their 'business' in a digitized and asymmetric world. Does security mean active defence including stealth and laser guided weapons or can it mean building relationships, controlling inequalities and recognizing each other's humanity? How does one respond to cyber threats that are asymmetric and perhaps non-attributable.

The conference aimed to bring together strategic thinkers, industry leaders, security practitioners, policy makers, media and R&D organizations on a single platform to obtain a 360-degree perspective on geo-political trends with a focus on asymmetric threats. Keynote presentations and panel discussions gave participants a rare chance to interact, reenergize, rethink and reset their process and learn from leading security experts and strategic thinkers from around the world.


Mayankote Kelath Narayanan is an Indian diplomat and former IPS officer. He was the National Security Adviser of India from 2005 to 2010. He served as the Governor of West Bengal from 2010 to 2014. The Government of India awarded him the civilian honour of Padma Shri in 1992.

MK Narayanan

HE MK Narayanan, Former NSA to GoI, Governor of West Bengal and Director of Intelligence Bureau

HE Shekhar Dutt, Former Gov of Chattisgarh &
Former Defence Secretary, GOI

Dr. Shekhar Dutt, is the former Governor of Chhattisgarh (2010-14). Dr. Dutt served as Deputy National Security Advisor (2007-10). He was the former Secretary of defence and also the recipient of the Sena Medal for gallantry in the 1971 Indo-Pak war.

Shekhar Dutt

Former Governor of Chhattisgarh, Former Deputy NSA & Defense Secretary, GoI

Suresh Prabu,  Indian Politician & current Railway Minister of India

Suresh Prabu is an Indian Politician & current Railway Minister of India. He currently represents Haryana in Upper House of Indian Parliament, and is a 4th time member of the Lok Sabha from Rajapur Constituency of Maharashtra.

Suresh Prabu

Indian politician and the current Railway Minister of GoI

Uzi Arad, Former National Security Advisor to the PM of Israel

Uzi Arad is an Israeli strategist & has served as National Security Advisor to Israel's PM Netanyahu and Head of the Israeli NSC between 2009 and 2011. During Netanyahu's first term as PM Dr. Arad was his Foreign Policy Advisor (1997-1999).

Dr. Uzi Arad

National Security Advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

 Prime Minister John Bruton was the parliamentary secretary, in the Government of Prime Minister Liam Cosgrave

Prime Minister John Bruton was the parliamentary secretary, in the Government of Prime Minister Liam Cosgrave. In a political career spanning more than three decades. He retired from Irish politics in 2004 and served as the European Union Ambassador to the United States (2004–09).

PM John Gerard Bruton

Prime Minister of Ireland

Krishnan Srinivasan,Former Indian Foreign Secretary

Krishnan Srinivasan is a diplomat, scholar and author. He was also deputy Secretary-General of the Commonwealth of Nations. He was awarded a Hind Ratna (India) in 2002, and was made a Chevalier de l'Ordre de la Valeur (Cameroon) in 2007.

Krishnan Srinivasan

Former Foreign Secretary, GoI

Margaret Alva,Former Governor of Rajasthan

Alva served as Governor of the Indian states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Goa, and Uttarakhand between 2009 and 2014. Before turning her attention to gubernatorial politics, she served multiple terms in the Indian National Congress.

Margaret Alva

Former Governor of Rajasthan

Sir David Omand,Former Director of GCHQ

First UK Security and Intelligence Coordinator, former Permanent Secretary of the UK Home Office and Director of GCHQ., Fellow of Corpus Christi College Cambridge and Senior Independent Director of Babcock International Group PLC. Author of 'Securing the State'.

Sir David Omand

Director of GCHQ

GK Pillai, IAS, Former Home Secretary of India

GK Pillai took charge as Home Secretary on June 30, 2009 until 2011. He has been with the GOI in the Ministry of Defence, Ministry of Surface Transport and the Ministry of Homeland Affairs and served as Commerce Secretary to the Union Government.

GK Pillai

Former Home Secretary, GoI

Hon Sec Michael Chertoff, Former Secretary Home Land Security

Michael Chertoff is an American attorney who was the second United States Secretary of Homeland Security, serving under President George W. Bush. Chairman and co-founder of the Chertoff Group. He is a manga cum laude graduate from both Harvard Law School and College.

Honorable Michael Chertoff

Former Secretary of the US Department of Home Land Security

Honorable Shyamal Datta, Former Governor of Nagaland and Director of IB

Shyamal Datta joined the Intelligence Bureau of the Government of India in January 1979 where he served in various capacities. In April 1997, Shri Datta reverted to the Intelligence Bureau as Additional Director and was promoted as Special Director in December 1997.

HE Shyamal Datta

Former Governor of Nagaland and Director of Intelligence Bureau

Dr Subhash Chandra Khuntia, IAS Chief Secretary, Govt. of Karnataka

Dr Subhash Chandra Khuntia, IAS, is currently the Chief Secretary of Government of Karnataka. Prior to this Dr. Khuntia served as a part time Director of Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited. He was also the Secretary to the Dept. of School Education & Literacy, Ministry of HRD.

Dr Subhash Chandra Khuntia

Chief Secretary, Govt. of Karnataka

Lt Gen. Philip Campose, Former Vice Chief of Army Staff, Indian Army

Lt. Gen. Philip Campose, AVSM, VSM was the former Vice Chief of Army Staff of the Indian Army. He retired in 2015 after more than four decades of service in the army. He also held the appointment of GOC-in-C of Western Command of Indian Army before assuming the office of VCOAS.

Lt Gen. Philip Campose

PVSM, AVSM & Bar, VSM, Former Vice Chief of the Indian Army

Padma Bhushan Dr. Paul Raj  ,Professor Emeritus, Stanford University; Recipient of the Marconi Prize

Arogyaswami Joseph Paulraj, an India-born engineer-scientist and Stanford University Professor Emeritus. Recipient of the prestigious 2014 Marconi Prize, a Nobel equivalent for technology pioneers and the Alexander Bell Prize. Dr. Paulraj has been credited with the invention and advancement of Multiple Input Multiple Output.

Padma Bhushan Dr. Paul Raj

AVSM, VSM, Professor Emeritus, Stanford University; Recipient of the Marconi Prize

Hormas Tharakkan, Former Director of RAW

P. K. H. Tharakan, IPS was Chief of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). He is the former Director General of the Kerala Police. He was one of the advisors to the Governor of Karnataka and a member of the National Security Council & also a Chief Advisor of Strategic Affairs.

P. K. H. Tharakan

Former Director of R&AW

 Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major , PVSM, AVSM, SC, VM, ADC; Former Member of NSA Board, Government of India

Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major (R) as the 21st Chief of Air Staff of the Indian Air Force. Post retirement, the Government of India utilized his experience and exposure by appointing him as an Independent Director of Air India, on many Expert Groups on Military, Strategic & Defense Modernization issues.

Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major

PVSM, AVSM, SC, VM, ADC; Former Member of NSA Board, Government of India

Praveen Swami, Editor of Indian Express

Praveen Swami is an Indian journalist and author specialising on international strategic and security issues. He is currently the National Editor of The Indian Express. Swami is the author of two books on the India-Pakistan conflict in Kashmir and was described by the BBC as "one of India's foremost experts of Islamist terrorism".

Praveen Swami

Editor of Indian Express

PC Haldar, Former Director, Intelligence Bureau, Government of India

Mr. P.C. Haldar is a Member of the National Security Advisory Board. A former Director of Intelligence Bureau, Government of India. He is currently Government of India's Peace Interlocutor with various insurgent groups in Assam, including the ULFA and the NDFB.

PC Haldar

Former Director of Intelligence Bureau, GoI

Vishnu Som  ,Defence Editor and Anchor, NDTV

Vishnu Som, Defence Editor and Principal Anchor with NDTV. He is a veteran of the industry, having been with NDTV since 1996. As a journalist, Vishnu has reported extensively on war, conflict, aviation and natural disasters. He has covered the Kargil, Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

Vishnu Som

Defence Editor and Anchor, NDTV

Lieutenant General S.L. Narasimhan, PVSM, AVSM, VSM & Member of National Security Advisory Board, GOI

Lt. Gen. S.L. Narasimhan, served as a Brigade Major of a Mountain Brigade, Defence Attaché in the Embassy of India at Beijing, China, Deputy Director General, Military Intelligence (East), and Additional Director General Public Information in the Integrated Headquarters of MoD.

Lieutenant General S.L. Narasimhan

PVSM, AVSM, VSM, Member of National Security Advisory Board, GoI

Dr Vivek Lall, Chief Executive, US and International Strategic Development, General Atomics

Vivek Lall served as the founding Co-Chair of the US – India Aviation Cooperation Program launched by Norman Mineta. He was appointed as the Vice President and Country Head, Boeing Defense Space & Security. He led a team to conclude US-India defence deals for C17 strategic lift, P-8I Anti-submarine warfare aircraft and Harpoon Missiles.

Dr Vivek Lall

Aerospace and Defence leader, Lockheed Martin

PS Raghavan, IFS, Convenor of the National Security Advisory Board

PS Raghavan joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1979 and retired in 2016 as Ambassador of India to the Russian Federation. In September 2016, he was appointed as a Convenor of the National Security Advisory Board of the National Security Council Secretariat, Government of India.

PS Raghavan

Convenor of the National Security Advisory Board

Major General Yossi Ben Hanan, Former Head of the Israeli SIBAT ( War hero )

Yossi Ben Hanan is an acclaimed war hero, recipient of the Medal of Courage for his contributions in the Yom Kippur War. He commanded the IDF R&D department, the Israeli National Security College and the Armored Corps. He was the head of the Israeli Defense Ministry's developing countries defense assistance division, SIBAT.

Major General Yossi Ben Hanan

Former Head of the Israeli SIBAT ( War hero )

Daisuke Kotegawa, Former Executive Director for IMF, Japan

Daisuke Kotegawa is the current head of the Asian Economic Institute at S.t Petersburg Federal University – the alma matter of President Putin and the Research Director of Cannon Institute of Global Affairs in Tokyo. He is a graduate in MBA from Stanford University.

Daisuke Kotegawa

Former Managing Director of IMF, Japan; Director of Canon Institute of Global Affairs, Tokyo

Pindar Wong, Chairman of VeriFi (Hong Kong) Ltd

Pindar Wong is an internet pioneer, who co­founded the first licensed Internet Service Provider in Hong Kong in 1993. He is the Chairman of VeriFi (Hong Kong) Ltd, a discrete Internet Infrastructure consultancy. He serves on the digital 21 Strategy Advisor Committee of the Hong Kong govt.

Pindar Wong

Chairman of VeriFi (Hong Kong) Ltd

Patrick M. Cronin, Director Centre for New American Security, Washington

Patrick M. Cronin is a Senior Advisor and Senior Director of the Asia-Pacific Security Program at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS). Previously, he was the Senior Director of the Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS) at the National Defense University.

Patrick M. Cronin

Director of Centre for New American Security, Washington

Jean Louis Bruguiere, IPS, Former Judge of the EU Anti-Terrorism Court

Jean-Louis Bruguière was the leading French investigating magistrate in charge of counter-terrorism affairs. He was appointed in 2004 as the Vice-President of Paris Court of Serious Claims (Tribunal de Grande Instance).

Jean Louis Bruguiere

Former Judge of the EU Anti-Terrorism Court

Jorge Braga de Macedo, Former President of the European Affairs Committee of VI Parliament

Jorge Braga de Macedo is Professor Emeritus and Founder Director of the Centre for Globalization and Governance (CG&G) at Nova School of Business and Economics and Distinguished Fellow of the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI).

Jorge Braga de Macedo

Distinguished Fellow CIGI, Waterloo Ontario, Former Finance Minister of Portugal

Silvino Schlickmann Junior, Director – Cyber Crime Directorate

Silvio Schlickmann was the Federal Criminal Expert with Interpol at the Global Complex for Innovation in Singapore. Worked as Assistant Director of Research and Innovation at INTERPOL for more than two years and recently took up the position of Director of Cybercrime at INTERPOL.

Silvino Schlickmann Junior

Director Cyber Operations, INTERPOL

James Creighton, Former COO of East West Institute; Colonel, United States Army

James Creighton retired as a Colonel from the United States Army after thirty years of service where he held key command positions to include: Commander, Combined Team Uruzgan, Tarin Kowt & Afghanistan.

James Creighton

Former COO of East West Institute; Colonel, United States Army



Along with disruptive innovations, cyberspace is seeing a sharp rise in threats and attacks derailing progress each day. The internet provides an easy, low-cost and low-risk means for non-state actors or terrorist groups to amplify the impact of any attack.

The world is entering the fourth industrial revolution, best described as the Era of Cyber Physical Systems where Information Technology that encompasses communications, computing and artificial intelligence will transform how we use or operate physical systems - from cars / vehicles, drones, data networks, power grids, manufacturing plants and even agriculture.

This talk begins with a brief survey of five key high technologies today – Bio, Robotics, Information, Nano and Energy, and then shifts focus to some of the trends in communications, computing and AI, drawing mainly on the speaker's work in these areas. The emerging 5G wireless infrastructure, which will be the key enabler for Cyber Physical Systems will be described.

China is not a status quoist power, and aspires to be a Great Power. It is well-positioned to achieve this if it maintains its present course. Any interruption, by indulging in a conflict with nations small or big, would not only damage, but derail the levels of progress that are essential to achieve this objective. President Xi's China dream, seems predicated on this belief. It implies support for a rule-based international system, linked to 'Tianxia', in the belief that this would help China overtake the U.S. as the dominant world power. When China talks of a 'new type of Great Power relations' it already envisages itself as Great Power in the making. It is unlikely to do anything to deviate from this goal.

China's multibillion-dollar One Belt, One Road (OBOR) infrastructure development project, linking the old Silk Road with Europe, is a manifestation of China's growing geopolitical ambitions. President Xi's ambition of propelling China to centrestage in the global power game represents a sharp departure from the approach of previous Chinese leaders, who strictly adhered to Deng Xiaoping's tenet to "hide our capabilities and bide our time, never try to take the lead".

Since the advent of independence, India has faced a multitude of security challenges to its nationhood - both external and internal - and to its emergence as a deservingly significant player in the global order. Located in one of the most security and politically stressed regions of the world, and with some not-so-friendly neighbours, sharing nearly 7000 km of active international borders with seven nations, and a coastline spanning over 15000 km, India's external security challenges are indeed formidable.

The intelligence community has often been blamed for its failure to forecast critical world events, from the fall of the Soviet Union to the Arab Spring that swept across North Africa and the Middle East. Can crowdsourcing and other open source intelligence tools result in more accurate forecasts about future events than the traditional forms of intelligence estimation?

The massive data breach at Equifax & Target ended the careers of their Chief Executive Officers, who had served these companies for more than three decades. Their resignation is a stark reminder of the predicament faced by CEOs caught in the cybersecurity crisis. How can a company's top-level management team address this threat?

Inequality in arms, indeed, significant disparity between belligerents, has become a prominent feature of various contemporary armed conflicts. Such asymmetries, albeit not at all a new phenomenon in the field of warfare, no longer constitute a random occurrence of singular battles.

Global finance's exclusive reliance on electronic communication, together with the billions of dollars traded daily, present lucrative opportunities for cyber-terrorists and criminals from both within and outside of the finance industry.

International theoreticians would say that the triangular interaction mentioned in the title of this presentation is very simple, coming from the Ancient Roman formula – "the enemy of my enemy is my friend". But in the international reality of the triangle in question, everything is much more complicated -involving various factors, details and aspects going down deep into history. In this short presentation it is impossible to cover and analyze all of them. The picture becomes even more multi-sided and complex if we would add the Indian factor.

Beyond the reach of search engines lies the dark web hosting information to help a new breed of cyber criminals commit crime unchecked. Ransomware, which demands payment after launching a cyberattack, has become a rising trend among hackers looking for a quick payout.

By examining the three sides of crypto coins, their privacy, security and transparency, this talk highlights the innovative and interesting security model that emphasizes the importance of having a security economic architecture which challenges traditional 'security perimeter' thinking.

Russia's recent diplomatic intervention in Afghanistan elicits old categorizations of a 'new Great Game' in the making among traditional rivals Moscow and Washington. However, attempts by regional and global powers to resolve the Afghan conflict, ironically, have contributed to exacerbating the situation. A new set of literature goes deep into history and International Relations to seek answers to the wicked problems in and around Afghanistan.

Observers of international affairs claim to have a unified theory of strategy, a unified theory of war, and a cunningly connected meta-narrative for the twenty-first century, indeed for all of history. This point of view endorses the Thucydidean triptych, which holds that the primary motives behind diplomatic and belligerent behaviors are "fear, honor, and interest."

Cyber threats need a holistic, 360-degree security approach covering all aspects of external and internal intelligence, web intelligence, human intelligence, open source intelligence, signal intelligence, supply chain security and social media.

The Iraq War and the Lebanon War of the first decade of the 21st century are watershed events in the history of warfare. For the weaker side in those wars, the Iraqi Army (who turned insurgents) and the Hezbollah highlighted the importance of asymmetric warfare, whereas for their dominant military adversaries, the US and Israel, they emphasized a red line – that, despite their claims of military victories, the large numbers of body bags and war disabled were not an acceptable outcome of war in modern democratic societies.

In our analog world, 'soft power' diplomacy challenged traditional 'hard power' assumptions where 'geography is destiny'. In the digital world, topology, not geography, is destiny - and new assumptions have emerged around leveraging network effects, data diplomacy and the transformative importance of 'software power' - the power of 'The Stack'.

Brexit and Alt-right are living proof that virulently nativist politics can find their way into the mainstream and can deal a severe blow to the global order within the confines of the democratic process. The term Alt-right, borrowed from the French Nouvelle Droit ("New Right"), places race at the center of any political calculus.

In the two decades following the end of the Cold War, the world experienced an era characterized by declining war and rising prosperity. The absence of serious geopolitical competition created opportunities for increased interdependence and global cooperation. In recent years, however, several possibly fundamental challenges to that new order have arisen - the collapse of order and the descent into violence in the Middle East; the Russian challenge to the European security order; and increasing geopolitical tensions in Asia being among the foremost of these. What does this spell for India?

The steady erosion of U.S. politico-economic primacy in the Asia-Pacific region continues unabated. It has two sources: The first is China's growing wealth and power. The second is America's continuing distraction by wars ,as well as President Donald Trump's desire to disrupt Washington's existing alliances and refusal to address pressing socio-economic issues at home.

Security 360

In such a context, how can governments and businesses reimagine security? Does security mean active defense including stealth and laser guided weapons, or can it mean building relationships, controlling inequalities and recognizing each others' humanity? How does one respond to cyber threats that are asymmetric and perhaps non attributable.

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