Syed Ali Zia Jaffery
The Center for Security, Strategy and Policy Research (CSSPR), The University of Lahore, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Regional Institute of Central Asia (RICA), Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. The MOU was signed by Mr. Awais Raoof (Chairman BoG), Dr. Rabia Akhtar (Director, CSSPR) and Dr. Bedelbai Mamadeiv (Director, RICA).
Under the terms of the MOU, both centers will join hands to conduct research on a host of important issues being faced by Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan.
The main focus of the research will be on geopolitics of Central and South Asia, geo-economics and regional connectivity, Pak-Kyrgyz bilateral relations, and Central and South Asian security dynamics. This is the first of its kind collaboration between a Pakistani and a Kyrgyz think tank.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Raoof said, “Joint-ventures like this are important and will ultimately open windows of cooperation in other fields, for we would provide an intellectual, research-based policy inputs to our respective decision makers that will help steer Pak-Kyrgyz ties forward”.
Dr. Akhtar remarked, “The value of Central Asia has increased precipitously owing to the ascendancy of the phenomena of economic connectivity, regional integration, and energy security. Thus, opportunities abound for research; Central Asia is a researcher’s delight”.
“Our working together can just provide an ideal fillip to efforts aimed at enriching our understanding of each other’s regional dynamics. Remember, connectivity sans understanding is a non-starter; thus, we look forward to playing a role in that regard”, she further added.
The ceremony took place on the sidelines of a two-day conference entitled “Reimagining the Silk Road: Pakistan and Kyrgyzstan in the Age of Connectivity”. Dr. Akhtar was one of the panelists in the conference and spoke on how increasing research output through think tank partnerships can help strengthening Pakistan’s relations with Kyrgyzstan and other Central Asian States.