Centre for Pakistan and West Asian Studies in the University of Calcutta has been set up with the vision that a community of countries comprising Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and India, will promote mutually beneficial economic, political and cultural ties. This vision draws inspiration from the large-scale cultural, social, economic, and political interactions between these four countries and India in historical times. Drawing upon this legacy, the proposed Centre visualises a future where there will be a marriage between modern technology, geography and diplomacy in the region, overcoming present-day barriers of narrow nationalism and politics of terrorism. The academic community in our country – in terms of its substantial knowledge of languages, culture, history, politics and economics of the region (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq) - can substantially contribute to the expansion of the already existing links that India has with these countries for mutual economic benefits. In addition they can engage themselves in a joint endeavour to promote a secular-democratic ethos. It is important to build bridges between the academics on the one hand and decision makers and opinion makers on the other hand. This requires a continuous expansion of the existing knowledge base of the region in our country. The Centre is expected to make a constructive contribution in this realm.
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