Experts Believe Revival Of Silk Route Can Bring Peace: Report

17 October 2008

Srinagar: The revival of Silk Route with special reference to Kashmir has a great significance for the peace and stability in the South Asian regions, speakers at an international conference on the historic route currently underway here said Friday. 'It is high time to assess the economic gains leading to human security and peace among India and Pakistan,' said Prof Riyaz Punjabi Vice Chancellor of Kashmir University, adding that China and Pakistan in general and Kashmir in particular would accrue with the revival of this route. Prof Reyaz who chaired the special session on Kashmir at the 4-day international conference titled 'Dynamics and Revival of Silk-Route: Perspective, Challenges and Opportunities,' said that with the onset of globalization, the revival of Silk Route has a great potential to accelerate the processes of globalization in South Asia. 'There is urgency to open up this road up to Gilgit and beyond on the one side and through Ladakh on the other,' he said. The conference, attended by experts and activists from several Central Asian states besides Japan, France and US is being organized by the university's Centre of Central Asian Studies. In his presentation, the director, CCAS, highlighted the economic gains to India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and Kashmir with the revival of Silk-Route. 'The revival of silk route can have great economic benefits to all these regions,' he said in his presentation titled 'Structure and Revival of Silk Route across Kashmir.' Noted historian, Prof Muhammad Ishaq Khan dwelt at length on the Silk Route and Kashmiri Identity Consciousness. Others who spoke in the special session included Aijaz Ahmad Banday, Prof G M Mir, Prof GR Jan and Aafaq Aziz of the CCAS. Earlier, experts from different parts of the world discussed the global importance of the Silk-Route and the role it played in building different Central Asian regions. More than 20 papers were presented on various aspects of Silk-Route on the 2nd day of the conference, which is being attended by scholars of eminence from different parts of Central Asia. In his paper titled 'Nisapur on the Silk Route', a professor of Eurasian Studies at the University of Mumbai, highlighted the role Silk-route played in the development of Nisa, an ancient city on the Turkman territory. 'Due to centrality of its location along the Silk-Route, all sorts of trade like handicrafts, agriculture, textile and so on flourished in the city,' said Prof. PL Dash. All these activities, Dash added, facilitated further growth of Nisa as the city development a lot in terms of infrastructure. Prof Valeriy S Khan of the Academy of Sciences, Uzbekistan said the Silk-Route was of global importance. 'Firstly, the Great Silk Road was the first in the history of human integration model of the international trading, cultural, long-distance communications based on the account of interests of the various states (in modern sense of the word).' Valeriy said the interest of restoration of the great Silk Route was associated with expansion of tourism along its routes. 'It is one of the most attractive routes and largest in the world, having 12800 kms in extent,' he said, adding that since 1994, the World Trade Organisation has initiated international meetings, seminars and projects on the 'Great Silk-Route.' The Director, Valikhanov Institute of History and Ethanology at Almaty, Kazakhstan, said that Kazakistan was located on the Great Silk Route and had paid attention to the problems of its revival. 'The search for arguments in this direction became one of the priorities for Kazakhstan. The focus is on the revival of the cultural aspects of the Silk Route,' Prof Sattar F Mazhitov said in his presentation, 'Silk Route and Kazakhstan: A Historical Perspective.' Azad Shamatov, Professor and Head, South Asian Languages at the Institute of Oriental Studies, Tashkent, said the legendary Silk Route played an outstanding role as the cultural bridge among civilizations, including Central Asia and India. Shamatov, in his presentation titled 'Silk Route and its Contribution to the exchange of Folk-Tradition between India and Central Asia' highlighted several modes of historical interactions between the regions in the sphere of folklore with special emphasis on Kashmir, Sindhi, Punjabi and Uzbek literary traditions. Shi Lan from the Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences, Institute of Central Asia, Urmchi China, stressed on the role Xinjiang can play in the re-construction of modern age Silk-Route in her presentation titled 'Silk Route Structure: The contribution of Xinjiang to its Growth.' Prof Tian Weijiang from China gave a presentation on the 'Review of Archive Materials about Marc Aurel Stein Stored in Xinjiang Local Archives'. He highlighted the multi-dimensional personality of Archaeologist Marc Aurel Stein, and his tremendous contribution in the field of archaeology and culture of Kashmir, India and Central Asia. Others who presented their papers included Chinara Rustomova from Turkmenistan (Turkmenistan on the Silk Route: Past and Present); Prof Zardy Khan Kinayadyly (The Silk Route Under the Mongols); Dr Mahesh Ranjan Debata (Importance of Turfan as a Silk route City: A Historical Perspective); Zianura Rysalieva (Kyrgyz Diaspora in the countries of Great Silk Road: Holistic Profile); Prof Meruyert Abusseitov (Silk Route: Inter-relation of Cultures): Prof Dilorom Alimova (Heritage of Great Silk Road and Uzbekistan); Prof Valeria Piancentiei Fioran (The Contribution of Silk Route to Religious Syncretism: Its Reflection on Painting and Architecture during 14th to 17th centuries); Dr Jean Marc Arakelian (Silk Road as an inspiration to a Specific Mughal Artist); Dr Ranjana Mishra (Buddhism Along the Silk Route), Prof Ismagulov Orazak (Ethno-anthropological Aspects of the Silk Route in Kazakhstan); Prof Valeiry Khan (The Revival of Great Silk Road in the context of Globalisation); Prof Gulshan Dietl, Prof Hafeez Malik, Dr Bushra Hameed, Prof Bolat Tatibekov, Dr Nicklas Norling, Prof Iihan Sahin, Tajamul Hussain, Dr GM Shah.