Friday, March 31, 2017

G Parthasarathy and Kasturirangan at Pondicherry University

Mrs Janaki Srinivasan Lighting the lamp
A look at the world of politics, statecraft, diplomacy and books

The School of Social Sciences and International Studies of Pondicherry University invited two remarkable high achievers for talks at the UNiversity. Both of then, Ambassador G Parthasarathy and Professor Kasturi Rangan, former Chairman, Indian Space Research Organization spoke passionately about the areas of their expertise and inspired the University community.
G Parthasarathy addressing the students of Pondicherry University
G Parthasarathy is a seasoned diplomat and is not given to vacuous niceties that do not address the outstanding issues plaguing the two countries, India and Pakistan. He did not seem particularly concerned that the SAARC unity would be a casualty of the estranged relationship between India and Pakistan. Instead he argued that the BIMSTEC grouping could be used to the advantage of India. On Sri Lanka, the diplomat was forthright. He categorically maintained that Indian fishermen with deep sea fishing nets are entering the territorial waters of Sri Lanka and are depleting the marine resources. His address was printed and distributed to the audience. He is a firm advocate of a rethink on the No First Use Policy of India with regard to nuclear weapons. He seemed to suggest that China has helped Pakistan build Plutonium weapons which can be deployed as tactical battle field weapons. It was really amazing to hear G Parthasarathy, a civil engineer by training speak so authoritatively about Indian foreign and security policies. Unlike academics from Indian Universities who spout half digested inanities marinated in the  jargon of post colonial theories, Parthasarahy presented his arguments in a logical manner.
Vice Chancellor, Professor Anisa Khan with Dr Kasturi Rangan

Professor Kasturi Rangan was another visitor who was invited by the CSA Studies, School of Social Sciences and International Studies Pondicherry University to address the students. He spoke for nearly an hour and the J N Auditorium was packed to capacity. He began by tracing the history of Indian Space Programme from Tumba, the Equatorial Rocket Launching Station when India first began sending rockets to measure the atmosphere. The launch of 104 satellites in a single launch makes India a leader in Space technology. He spelt out the uses of such advanced technology by laying emphasis on the inherent real time data that such technologies transmit to the ground station. In hydrology, remote sensing, terrestrial mapping, resource planning are all areas in which satellites have their utility. I drew attention to the racist cartoon in New YorkTimes which questioned the utility of such technology to poorer societies.

It was a rich experience listening to these great men.

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