LAHORE: Pakistan Study Centre Punjab University in collaboration with Department of South Asian History, Lomonosov Moscow State University Russia organized an international webinar on ‘Prospects for Pakistan Russia Relations’. Dean Faculty of Arts and Humanities and Director Pakistan Study Centre Prof Dr Amra Raza, Head of the Department of South Asian History, Institute of Asian and African Studies Safronova Professor Alexandra, Associate Professor Dr Amjad Abbas Magsi, Dr Anna Bochkovskaya, faculty members, PhD and Mphil Scholars and others attended the webinar.

In her address, Dr Amra Raza said that this academic activity would play a role in bringing the two institutions closer, the faculty and the students. She underscored the need to work collectively in the fields of Arts, literature music and sports. She said that PU offers educational facilities in the fields of languages and arts. She desired to renew the MoU for innovative economies. She hoped for extended cooperation between the two countries as well as the two Universities.

Professor Alexandra elaborated on the comprehensive nature of Pak-Russia relations. She noted that current geopolitical changes have opened up new prospects for cooperation and research. To this end, a possible foundation of the Pakistan–Russia network of higher education institutions, precisely between University of the Punjab and Lomonosov Moscow State University, could yield result through the signing and implementing new memorandums of understanding. This would contribute to the consolidation of research and educational institutions’ efforts in training highly skilled specialists for the innovation economies and to the promotion of academic exchange program between Pakistan and Russia.

In his key note speech, Dr Amjad Abbas Magsi traced the historical background of the relationship between the two countries. He pointed towards transformation in the wake of geo political situation of South Asia. He threw light on the steps taken by both countries to enhance the mutual relationships. He underscored the need to diversify the basis of interactions. They will have to leave the past behind to make substantial head way in the relationship. They need to focus on their mutual benefits rather through lense of outside factors. He said that there was a lot of scope to consolidate and widen the foundations for the lasting friendship. Both the countries can further cooperation in the fields of energy, art and cultural exchange to increase people to people contacts, he added. Dr Magsi stressed that there was a need for a joint collaborative strategy to cope up with the situation in Afghanistan especially in the wake of rising humanitarian crisis there. The efforts of Russia about Afghanistan were especially lauded. The role of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) is very significant to bring peace and prosperity in the region. Through inclusion of Pakistan, India, Afghanistan and Iran, this regional forum can bring positive consequences for the region. Dr Magsi pointed out in the fields of Pharmacy and Biological Sciences and Information Technology, Punjab University and Lomonosov Moscow State University could explore joint studies and research projects.

Anna Bochkovskaya highlighted some fields and vectors for joint activities of the two countries, namely, trade, cooperation in energy engineering, military and technical cooperation, in exchanging experience in countering terrorism, which remains among major challenges of the 21st century. Focusing on the necessity of promoting humanitarian, cultural and scientific ties Dr Bochkovskaya pointed out that currently there is no intergovernmental program that would cover the cultural and scientific exchange between Russia and Pakistan. Signing a new MoU between the Lomonosov Moscow State University and University of the Punjab seems a very promising perspective for Pak-Russia cooperation in the humanities. The webinar option could and should be used to launch some preliminary discussion in this direction.

Author

Arsalan Haider is a reporter at Academia Mag and has worked with leading national dailies and news channels. He tweets @arsalanhaider14

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