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Inter-Regional Connectivity: South Asia and Central Asia (ICIRCSACA)

International Conference
Submission Deadline Friday, 05 August 2016  
Date Wednesday, 9 November – Thursday, 10 November 2016  
Location Government College U (GCU) (Lahore, Pakistan)  
Organization Centre of Excellence for China Studies, Department of Political Science (GCU, Lahore, Pakistan)  
Website Link  
Information PDF  
Contact Muhammad Manzoor Elahi: mmelahi@gcu.edu.pk
Dr. Khalid Manzoor Butt: chairperson.polsc@gcu.edu.pk

The Centre of Excellence for China Studies at the GCU’s Department of Political Science (Lahore, Pakistan) welcomes the submission of research papers for the “International Conference on Inter-Regional Connectivity: South Asia and Central Asia (ICIRCSACA),” which will be held on 9–10 November 2016. Please submit abstracts of 150–300 words – clearly indicating objectives, methodology, results, and conclusions – by August 5 2016. These will be assessed by the conference’s academic committee, which will then indicate its decision regarding the acceptance or rejection of papers for presentation.

Deadline for the Submission of Abstracts: Friday, 05 August, 2016 

Applicants are requested to send their abstracts to the following email addresses:
Muhammad Manzoor Elahi: mmelahi@gcu.edu.pk
Dr. Khalid Manzoor Butt: chairperson.polsc@gcu.edu.pk

The conference encompasses within its purview new trends of regionalism and regionalization in connection with indigenous demands and realities of “sisterly regions” i.e. South Asia and Central Asia. The focus of this academic endeavour is to discuss regional dynamics beyond the conventional parameters of regional study and to contribute to the formulation of a theoretical, as well as methodological, framework that must be synchronized with the Asian milieu. In addition, the conference initiates an academic debate on critical discourse in the realm of regionalism and intends to fill the research gap by constructing a model of inter-regional connectivity across the traditional settings of the regions. The phenomenon of inter-regional connectivity in Asia is the need of the hour and a way forward for South and Central Asian states, whereby they could get more through cooperative interplay on the dictum of mutual dependence by strengthening mobility.

The conference accentuates the geostrategic vitality of South Asia for Central Asia and vice versa; under the spectrum of geopolitics, geo-economics and geo-energy. In this perspective, both regions are interdependent in varied fields. For instance, South Asia offers pragmatic and cost-effective transit trade routes to the Central Asian landlocked states. Whereas, Central Asian hydrocarbon reserves are strategic assets for energy stricken South Asia in order to pacify the latter’s unbridled energy demand. In addition, hydropower generation in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan can also promote connectivity and liaison between the both regions. Geographical proximity, historical affinities and socio-cultural propinquities are significant means to engulf the bridge of connectivity.

Historically, both the regions were once on the crossroads of the Silk Route, a conduit for the transformation of cultures, ideas and commodities from north to south and east to west or vice versa. This route was the hub of world economic activity but the wrath of the imperial powers, Tsarist Russia and Great Britain, disconnected this strategic link and started a perennial geopolitical vendetta – the “Great Game”– to extend one’s influence on to others. In this game of imperial preponderance, Central Asia was the “soft underbelly” of Russia; likewise, South Asia was a “crown of jewel” for Britain. Later, the lifting of the British imperial yoke from South Asia and the fall of the Soviet Iron Curtain in Central Asia paved the way for reinvigorating inter-regional connectivity between the aforementioned regions, which is the primary concern of this conference.
Post-Soviet Central Asia is once again ready to revive historical legacy, wherein a the focus is on economic linkages, the strengthening of cultural ties, the building of mobility, the consolidation of political harmony and the culmination of diplomatic bonds. Apart from this, it is equally imperative today to launch joint ventures to quell the rise of terrorism, militancy, and religious extremism for sustainable peace and development in the “heart of Asia.” The new framework of inter-regional connectivity is a “win-win situation” for both regions. This academic initiative, therefore, has been taken up in order to highlight the vitality of inter-regional connectivity and to provide an opportunity for scholars to further explore avenues of mutual-cooperation.

Conference Themes
The conference themes cover multiple dimensions of inter-regional connectivity.
Theme-I: Conceptualizing Inter-Regional Connectivity
Theme-II: Geopolitics of Corridors: Building Economic and Political Linkages
Theme-III: South Asia’s Energy Security vis-à-vis Central Asia
Theme-IV: Peace and Security-centric Cooperation
Theme V: South Asia-Central Asia Connectivity and the World