Editorial LISA Journal Issue-24
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Currently there are important geostrategic changes taking place in South Asia. After decades of mistrust and hostility, Russia and Pakistan are now seeing the enormous strategic benefits of a bilateral relationship. In this fast-changing and evolving international scenario, Russian interests in Pakistan are beginning to unfold. Though President Putin could not visit Pakistan in early October, visits by Gen Kayani Pakistan Army chief to Moscow and Russian Foreign Minister to Islamabad will end the frostiness induced by the Cold War and kick-start Moscow’s new assertiveness in South Asia where hitherto America enjoyed pre-eminence.
This region has paid a devastating price for the lack of understanding and coherence between the two countries. Russians could effectively achieve its strategic objectives in this region if they had given an option to Pakistan to work with them towards mutually beneficial ends in early 70’s, 80’s but the boundaries of the bipolar between the two super powers were too well defined and Pakistan had a strong US leanings. Soviets primary goal was to have an access to warm waters in the Arabian Sea and that could easily be achieved through the development of Gwadar port. Decades later, Chinese followed a friendly path to achieve the same. Pakistan sought security and the tilt of erstwhile USSR towards India pushed Pakistan into the Western camp and what followed is history.
A new era of bilateral relations between Russia and Pakistan is now taking shape in the wake of US retreat from Afghanistan in 2014 and the concern of both nations as to US imperialistic designs in the region. In fact it is a geopolitical compulsion for both nations to charter a complimentary strategic alliance.
Foreign minister of Russia referring to Drone Attacks in Pakistan stated, “It is not right to violate the sovereignty and integrity of any state. We fully support Pakistan's stance." On Afghanistan, he said the solution for settlement of the issue should come from within the country. He mentioned that all other proposals that emanated from abroad did not work. It is thus imperative that neighbouring countries of Afghanistan in the region should come forward and help Afghans evolve an Afghan-based, Afghan-sponsored solution and in this venture role of Russia, Pakistan, Iran and Turkey is of particular importance and relevance. It is clear that Russia is keen to enhance its profile in the region following India’s increased closeness to Washington and China is now ready to be a bit more assertive.
On Sept 6, China announced its decision to bypass the dollar for global oil customers and allow them make purchases in Yuan. Shockingly, this announcement was ignored by the Media in South Asia, though it can surely help nations in the subcontinent. Anyway, as the Yuan purchase catches on, the dollar will lose its place as the global reserve currency and Col. Muammar Gaddafi, who died a brutal death because of his determination to nix the dollar with an African gold dinar, will be vindicated in history.
China has been implementing bilateral trade agreements with a number of countries, whereby trade is not conducted in dollars, but in local currencies. Over the past few years, China and other emerging powers such as Russia have been making agreements to move away from the US dollar in international trade. Iran squeezed by the sanctions is already willing to barter and deal in local currency.
A new Sino-Russian alliance is fast developing. It will be in the interests of Pakistan and other nations seeking to be sovereign and independent, to adjust to the emerging realities
Already the neighbourhood is becoming more closely intertwined, with both Moscow and Beijing endorsing Tehran’s right to nuclear technology and opposing American sanctions against Iran.Pakistan, already close to China, will benefit from increased warmth with Moscow in the wake of growing hostility and drone attacks by America. Russia and China both support Pakistan’s desire to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)
Russia and China have woken up to the dangers and the neighbours of China have an important role to play. Pakistan is in the eye of the storm and in fact so is India because it is central to US plans to contain China.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stressed that both religious and geographical factors call for closer ties between Pakistan and his country. Mr Ahmadinejad saw the separate nature of the two countries as mere “geopolitical divisions” since, he argued, the two peoples have common culture emanating from the same source and origin and common values. It is hard to dispute his contention that the stronger the ties the better for both. Adding force to his argument is the reality of today, which demands the defence of common interests. LISA has consistently maintained that Iran - Pakistan alliance is imperative for stability in the region. With support and understanding from China and Russia time is Pakistan’s side to develop strategic understanding with Iran
LISA ANNUAL SEMINAR 2012
The London Institute of South Asia (LISA) annual seminar was held in London on 23 August 2012. Papers were read by eminent scholars from India, Pakistan, Canada and the United Kingdom on the subject of “Roots and Realities of Terrorism in the Subcontinent”
The director of LISA and Editor of LISA Journal in his opening remarks said, “At LISA we do not seek assistance or support from any foundation, government, or mainstream media since they are driven by their corporate masters or their specific agendas. We are an independent voice determined to speak the truth and provide an alternative source of information and ideas for our readers. Intrinsic to our mission is our dedication to humanity in general and for betterment of the people of South Asia in particular. Our ideological perspective is based on commitment to integrity, fairness, equal opportunity, human rights in intra -sate and inter-state relationships. We shall be a voice for the freedom and rights of South Asian communities devoted to elimination of discrimination based on religion, caste, tribes, language, race or nationalities.”
“LISA started as a dream about six years ago. The person who envisioned this dream is right amongst us today. It is my proud privilege to present Usman Khalid . LISA under his guidance and enlightened vision has come of age. We would also like to extend our gratitude and thanks to all the role players that have made it possible for the dream to become a reality.”
“I would now take a few moments to introduce our Chairman of the Seminar Mr Alan Hart a role model of note, a man of distinction. He has been engaged with the events in the Middle East and there global consequences and terrifying implications – the possibility of a Clash of Civilizations.
Alan Hart is a fiercely independent thinker. He hates all labels and isms and has never been a member of any political party or group. He prefers to judge issues on their merit. As a researcher and author, his first book “Arafat, Terrorist or Peacemaker?” was published in 1984 and subsequently in several updated editions over a decade
He was actively involved in covert diplomacy or call it backdoor diplomacy to bring about a resolution of Palestinian problem. His mediation was based on Truth Telling as he believes that peacemaking is not possible without it. A decade later the process that he had initiated became to be known as Oslo Process.
His latest book “Zionism: The Real Enemy of Jews” shows that countdown to Armageddon is on and how it can be stopped.
The Seminar was chaired by Mr Alan Hart a role model of note and a man of distinction.
.LISA Annual Book Award 2012
A simple and impressive ceremony was held at the end of the Seminar. Noted Indian freelance journalist and human rights activist Oliver D’Souza won the prestigious London Institute of South Asia (LISA) Book of the Year Award for for his book ‘Truth about Dalits’.
Drawing from a short-list of global entries for the award, the award committee narrowed down on ‘Truth about Dalits’ as the winner for the award.
Commenting on the criteria for conferring the award at LISA's annual seminar, Saeed Ismat Director of LISA said “Oliver D’Souza has done a commendable job writing such an analytical and unbiased book on the Dalits. The institution considers the book of great value." He added, “The Truth about Dalits' is an eye opener and a remarkable research work. The author has spoken the truth with no prejudice, favour or fear.”
In his foreword, Dr Kancha Ilaiah said “The book 'Truth about Dalits' is a different kind of book that so far exists on Dalits in the market. Oliver D’Souza has collected very relevant information quite laboriously to write this book. So far the exploitation, suppression and oppression of Dalitbahujans have not been understood by the Western world. Nobody has written a book on caste and untouchability keeping the Western readers in mind. This is first of its kind with details that normally are not available at one place with a reasoned argument about their status, predicament and struggles.”
“D’Souza’ book does that job with good expertise and gives us a graphic picture of how it (caste discrimination) is actually practiced within the Hindu fold. The insertion of photographs at important places makes the book not only more creative, but makes it more readable and understandable,” he adds.
The author Mr Oliver D’Souza could not attend as he was held up in India and the award was received on his behalf by Mrs Rosemary Morris. She is the Liaison Officer for Dalit Freedom Network (DFN) (The network of people fighting for Dalit Freedom since in 2002.
The Director LISA announced the award and read the citation. Chairman Alan Hart presented the certificate.