Speech at the IT Center for the Kyrgyz State University for Construction, Transportation and Architecture (KSUCTA) named after Isanov
24th September 2013
Dear Rector, Professors, members of the faculty, my colleagues and dear friends. Its always good to be among the students. Students have dreams and those who pursue their dreams become the leaders. Leaders not only in terms of politics, but leaders in different walks of life. As a rule all the students should become responsible citizens of the country. You, the students shall not only be the architects of the physical infrastructure but of the social and political institutions of the country.
All of you know Taj mahal. There is an anecdote about the Taj, one of the wonders of the world. When its chief architect Isa (some say that the chief architect was Lauhori), nevertheless, when the chief architect, completed the work, the Emperor Shah Jehan was pleased. At the same time, he did not want that Isa built another structure bigger/more beautiful than this. He therefore ordered to cut off Isa's hand. Isa told the emperor that the building was not yet complete and said allow me to give the final touches. The Emperor allowed. Isa climbed up the top of the dome and hammered at its heart. They say, every time when it rains, a drop - probably Isa's tear drop falls on the grave of Mumtaj Mahal. I am sure that the anecdote was not true and that it just romanticized everything around Taj. I believe that some of you shall aspire to create monumental works, and the people will start weaving stories around it.
The famous architect, Frank Gehry once said, "In the end, the character of a civilization is encased in its structure. I hope that one day some of you shall create such structures, that will become part of the civilization.
The word civilization reminds me about our civilizational ties. We have shared the Buddhist past. There are still some remains in Kyrgyzstan; Babur, the founder of Mughal dynasty in India had also lived in Osh and I am told that his house still exists there; then came the Soviet era, when India enjoyed friendly relations with the erstwhile Soviet Union including its republics and our then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi visited the Kyrgyz Republic in 1985. We maintained and strengthened our friendly relations after the independence of Kyrgyzstan.
How does India approach to Central Asia and Kyrgyzstan. India decided to share its know-how with the friendly countries and help the newly independent countries in its capacity building. Let me take this opportunity to inform you that India offers under its Technical and Economic Cooperation 85 scholarships to working professionals every year. We can try to send 3-4 faculty members for short term courses in India. India also offers a few scholarships for regular university courses. The students may wish to have look at that.
What is India's policy towards Kyrgyzstan and Central Asia - the answer is very simple - although its implementation is very difficult. We see you as our neighbours. So primarily the policy is 'Connect Central Asia policy'. What does that mean - it means to bring the people of two countries closer to each other by connecting them.
Connect through flights - unfortunately we don't have direct flights
Connect by road - it has very complex route
Connection by sea is not possible as Kyrgyzstan is a landlocked country
Then how do we maintain contacts on a regular basis. The only immediate way is through the virtual world. This IT center can play a very important role in this. When the center is upgraded, I hope, which shall happen soon, we need to build elements, so that this place could be used at a later date for tele-education, when you shall be able to interact directly with the Indian experts. I hope that the Centre shall on its own make efforts to have tie-ups with the leading IT institutions, universities in India, have exchange of students and faculties. The University/Center may invite IT companies for exhibitions. This small IT Center is a success story of India's relations with Kyrgyzstan. The Center may, to someone appear just a small dot, but let this dot shine like a star on the sky of our bilateral relations.
What I would expect from the students is, as the world becomes smaller, visiting foreign countries becomes inevitable. The university of architecture and construction, may think of undertaking a study tour of the students to India. You will see the marvels of architecture from North to South and East to West. You could breathe inspiration when you visit those monuments.
Ambassador's speeches / interviews