Symbiosis International University (SIU) today successfully concluded a seminal two day Conference on International Relations held at their Lavale Campus, Pune. Supported by the Public Diplomacy Division, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, the conference witnessed keynote addresses by Hon'ble Shri. M. Hamid Ansari, Vice President of India on the first day and Distinguished Chief Guest H.E. Mr. Hamid Karzai, GCMG, Hon'ble President, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan on the 15th.
Intended to be the first of many International Conferences and seminars planned by SIU, the Conference was both well attended and represented by visiting delegates from over 20 countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Mozambique, Senegal, Bhutan, Burundi, Tanzania, Oman, Turkey and Dubai. The Conference also played host to several senior bureaucrats including Former Ambassadors Shyam Saran, Muchkund Dubey, Ronen Sen, Pavan Varma and Arundhati Ghose among many others.
The Conference witnessed in-depth track papers presented on a variety of topics ranging from Education, Cultural Affairs, Foreign Policies, FDI and Public Private Partnerships; all within the framework of the theme of the event - India and Development Partnerships in Asia and Africa.
In his inaugural speech, Hon'ble Shri. M. Hamid Ansari, Vice President of India urged South Asian countries to jointly work towards finding solutions to common challenges and boost bi-lateral trade relations. The Vice President said "The theme of the Conference is relevant to the emerging world scenario in which the older paradigm of international economic relations and cooperation is increasingly becoming obsolete. South Asia is the only exception to the worldwide trend towards regional integration, which is the need of the hour. Despite potential benefits, these countries remain in the least integrated, even when compared to Sub-Saharan Africa" - a sentiment that was echoed by nearly all the participating bureaucrats and panelists.
In his key note speech, H. E. Mr. Hamid Karzai, GCMG, Hon'ble President, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan expressed his pleasure at being present at the SIU Conference and reiterated both the history of cordial relations between India and Afghanistan and his commitment to the future.
The Afghan President reminded the gathering that Indo-Afghan relations have historically been based within a framework of education and development partnerships. Talking of the current scenario he expressed gratitude to India's friendship. He said "India is not known to be a traditional donor; however India provided Afghanistan over USD 2 billion of quality money that went into structured development and infrastructure, including electricity transmission lines, the new Parliament building, a dam and other developmental projects impacting on the quality of life and economic generation."
Stressing on the need for increased trade and economic ties between the two nations, President Karzai said that Afghanistan is committed to creating openings for India in Central and West Asia to help India fulfil its Central Asia Connect vision. The President said "We see a vast market in India and if trade is further enabled, Afghanistan need not go to the rest of the world for anything. For its part, Afghanistan one of the world's richest countries in mineral wealth could greatly contribute to India, one of the fastest rising countries in industrial development and technology."
Sharing his thoughts on the outcome of the conference and welcoming President Karzai, .Dr. S. B. Mujumdar, Founder and President, Symbiosis said, 'Good quality education to foreign students can be a soft power, which will help establish cordial and symbiotic relations between India and other countries. The youth of today around the world are the real vehicles and engines of growth and development and education is the critical factor that will turn them into both viable human resources and resources with human values."
Calling it "a historic day for Symbiosis", Dr. Vidya Yeravdekar, Principal Director, Symbiosis talked about how the institution helped countries in capacity building and human resource development. Dr. Vidya expressed her desire and willingness to work closely with the Government of Afghanistan to enhance Indo-Afghan relations further with dedicated steps including student exchange and teacher training programs.
The two day Conference provided a platform for Academicians, Researchers, Corporates and Policy Makers who, while discussing challenges, also deliberated on long term solutions through continued dialogue.
Tripti Chetnani, Ideosphere Consulting, +91 9823082711, [email protected]