|Prof.( Dr.) Klaus Lange, Director, Institute for Transnational Studies
New Delhi: European strategic experts are now of the view that forging partnership between Europe and South Asia, especially with India, would benefit both the regions. People to people contacts from both sides would facilitate achieving better understanding and co-operation which are very necessary for the development and economic stability in Europe and South Asia.
European scholars Professor Dr. Klaus Lange and Prof. Klara Knapp who are here on a visit, in an interaction with Bharat Defence Kavach told that there is immense possibility of co-operation between Europe and South Asia. Prof. Lange lamented that Europe’s interest in South Asia unfortunately, has been less in proportion than to actual relevance of this region.
“There is a possibility of much more intensified interaction and co-operation between Europe and South Asia. Both regions are to a very high degree complementary in my view and could benefit each other. The interest is in Europe, at least in South Asia, I would say still unfortunately under developed and that is the reason why we would like to make a contribution to change the situation,” he said.
|Prof. (Dr.) Klara Knapp, Deputy Director, ITS
Professor Dr. Lange is from Germany and is the director of Germany and Italy based consultancy ‘Institute for Transnational Studies’. Dr. Klara Knapp is the deputy director of the institute. The Institute for Transnational Studies (ITS) is a security and political research consultancy institute with an extensive local and international associate network.
Dr. Lange and Dr. Knapp along with an Indian scholar from IDSA Jagannath P. Panda have edited a book titled “Revisiting Contemporary South Asia- Politics, Economics and Security.” The book is published by Pentagon Press, Delhi and was release here on Friday.
Fazed by global slowdown, Europe is now willing to share technology with the South Asian countries and it also offers management skill to improve governance in the region.
“Europe has a lot to offer to the South Asian countries. It can offer technology, management system for good governance in this region,” he said.
Today people are moving towards a multi-polar world and it will be good if both the regions could intensify their relations and co-operation in various fields for mutual benefit.
The bureaucratic system in South Asia often delays decision making which results in poor management of the available resources in the region. Here, European management skill and training could bring significant change for the good of the people.
Dr. Lange who has visited this region several times said that the Europeans are in some respect more efficient in management of resources and they can offer their skill to South Asia region. Similarly South Asia can offer its immense manpower to Europe.
“There is abundant unused human potential in South Asia which could greatly benefit to Europe which is aging to very high degree. South Asia, particularly India, is very strong in photovoltaic panel in Karnataka are best in the world and very competitive. The same applies to the IT service industry. India is far advanced in the technology of thorium reactors which one day may make India an energy exporting country,” he said.
Agriculture again is a strong sector in India but due to insufficient storage facilities huge quantity of agriculture products get rotten every year. India can acquire the food storage technology from Europe and save the food products from getting rotten.
Dr. Lange admitted that South Asia is very significant to Europe and Europe can make best use of South Asia’s unused potential. He also said that the Europeans need to learn a lot from the Asian culture. “We turned to Asia as we feel that South Asia has immense significance for Europe. Europe can contribute to better realization of the potential available in South Asia. This is our core vision that South Asian and Europeans get together and know each other more intensely,” he said.
Another factor which can contribute to bring South Asia and Europe closer is intensification of people to people contact between both the regions. Dr. Lange is of the opinion that this will create a very cordial atmosphere to understand the cultures and people of the regions.
“In my opinion, intensification of people to people contact is very important for bringing closer to both Europe and South Asia. By my experience I can say that more and more I come to this region, it becomes easier to understand the people and the culture of South Asia. I don’t see any basic contradiction between our cultures, although they are quite different but we should also not forget that Europe and South Asia do not have any major conflict such as border problem, historic burdens etc.,” he said.
On the lukewarm response of European countries to share technology with India, he said that bureaucratic hurdles and to some extent lack of transparency are some of the factors are responsible for this. “ It is quite problematic to the European business culture which is from the Indian one,” he said while accepting the fact tha European country like France has been able to get huge defence orders including deal for 126 fighter aircraft, submarines and upgrades of Mirage fighter aircraft from India.
Dr. Lange is worried about the strained and inimical relations between the two major players in South Asia-India and Pakistan. He said this is a major stumbling block in the stability in the region. Expressing his concern over terrorism emanating from Pakistan, he said that Pakistan government seems to have lost control over the terrorist outfits in the country. Therefore, it is necessary for India to engage Pakistan in dialogue. He expressed confidence that India has the ability to deal with Pakistan on this issue.
Lange also expressed concern over the militarization of nuclear arsenal in Pakistan. “The greatest danger I see is from the nuclear weapons in Pakistan where there is always a fear that some commander at low level, particularly when the nerves are high, may trigger the nuclear button. I see danger from the militarization of nuclear power in Pakistan. Whereas in India the nuclear arsenals are very much under the civilian government’s control and there is no doubt about it,” he said.
The European scholar praised India for her role in the region and hoped that India will continue to support neighboring countries in their developmental efforts. “India is the only country in South Asia which has the potential to give developmental aid to the countries around it. India has a great role to play. India has already invested about $1.5 billion in Afghanistan and promise to increase half a billion dollars,” he said.
Dr. Klara Knapp, in reply to a question, told about her observation about the condition of women in South Asia. “Women in the urban areas in South Asia seem to have significantly emancipated and are doing well in education and other fields but the condition of women in rural regions has not much improved,” she said. She said that Hindu women are more emancipated than their Muslim counterparts who still are force to remain confined in their houses and are not allowed emancipation.. Dr. Knapp admitted that though European women are much more emancipated, they are not yet as emancipated as the men there are.
The European scholars expressed hope that Europe and South Asia will identify each other’s potentials and make sincere moves to come closer for a win-win relationship to benefit from.