INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE

“Central Asia: Time and Space; Conflict, Contest and [Dis] Integration”

 

 

  • Deadline for the Submission of Abstracts:             April 15, 2017
  • Intimation of Acceptance of Abstracts:                  April 30, 2017
  • Deadline for the submission of Final Papers:         May 31, 2017

Boarding lodging will be provided by the organizers. Limited numbers of travel grants both international/ national are available.

 

Call for Papers

The Area Study Centre (Russia, China and Central Asia), University of Peshawar, invites submission of research papers for International Conference “Central Asia: Time and Space; Conflict, Contest and [Dis] Integration”, to be held during the second week of July, 2017, at Area Study Centre (Russia, China and Central Asia), University of Peshawar, Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan.

 

Concept of Conference

Political geography, containing Strategic Spaces, is central to the understanding and functioning of Modern World System. Any Conflict, Contest and [Dis] Integration has time and space dimensions to it. The same is true for Central Asian Space within Eurasia. It is the Sphere of Influence being contested by Great Powers. The context and structural frameworks include variables such as time, space, scales, global, regional and national to correctly perceive the ongoing geo-politics, geo-strategies and geo-economics, especially in the Central Asian Space. This reminds one of Mackinder’s Heartland Theory, let alone the New Great Game and the New Sense of the World. The pursuits of states, non-state actors and multinationals revolve around lures of power, security, wealth, market and natural resources. The recent meaningful developments in and around the Central Asian Space are politically and geographically radical e.g., Crimea, Mannas, and Afghanistan. The New Great Game to dominate Central Asia continues albeit with new players, as new centres of power are emerging. And an economically growing Asia assumes strategic significance as an economic powerhouse on the world stage. In this context, new geo-political and geo-economic alliances, alignments and re-alignments are in gestation (with the aim of balancing and re-balancing major players) in the form of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the emerging Indo-American-Afghan partnership. The strategic observation is that the things have gone wrong in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, and this brings to the fore the Central Asian Space for Conflict, Contest and [Dis] Integration. The rest are details. The Major Question has been: On whose side remains the Time and Space dimensions in Central Asia?       

Foreign policy and by extension diplomacy leavened with overt and covert wars is central to the contemporary Strategic Environment. The struggle is about winning spheres of influences and for trans-continental trade-corridors, energy pipelines, military bases, lithium, gold, and many more minerals and metals. Americans, Chinese and Russians are central to the competition, whereas, Indians are emerging on the scene. The rest are part of the specifics, though, Japan is an economic giant, and Pakistan an Asian Power. Pakistan’s dilemma is that Balochistan offers an alternative to the failures in Afghanistan and Iraq. Foreign policy is a game of brinkmanship and compromises, though any compromise leaves one little unsatisfied. There is also this difference between an operational policy and a declaratory one. It is convergence and conflict of interests, in which, an overreach has a price. The idea of Balance of Power is never static. Foreign policies in the pivot area are practical businesses, trade-offs, arms races, proxies and the religious insurgencies. The Central Asian Space is exposed to the strategic games. It has consequences. The way out is pursuit of national interest. Anything else is a dissonance based perception impacting decision making.       

Central Asian Strategic Environment

The prelude to big events is the strategic environment made up of facts creating a climate. The detailed information is not needed, because, a strategic environment is always a mixture of psychological, perceptual, strategic, political, economic and cultural facts in which any given policy or an event unfolds. It is an environment which one can cut with the sword. Before going into any specifics, the strategist should breathe in the ambiance of the space in which reality will disentangle e.g., the Central Asian Space. The richer the analysis, the more rational one would be. The strategic conception should always be logical and rational, as opposed to the one based on an intuition. For there was a situation on the eve of 9/11, today there are situations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Libya and Yemen. This advances the Central Asian Space as an alternative to the chaos of the Middle East. There are two strategic routes to Central Asia. Gwadar in Pakistan’s Balochistan is the starting point of the southern route to Central Asia, which is once again a Historical Pivot and a Heartland to the World Island.It remains inaccessible to sea powers. The game over Gwadar is about access to Central Asia. The same is true for Ukraine and Crimea over northern route. No wonder Russians are resisting. Americans control the Afghan Plateau. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a strategic maneuver to bypass the American occupied Afghanistan. Historically, the fundamentals of Sino-Pak relationship have been strategic in nature including the nuclear cooperation. The CPEC adds two new dimensions to the Sino-Pak relationship based on naval and economic cooperation centered on Gwadar. Afghanistan from day one is a Big Game, Iraq never was. The Inner Crescent i.e., Eurasia and the Heartland i.e., Central Asia are up for grab. The assessment of the correlation of forces should be on the basis of capacity, and not the declaratory good intentions. The unfolding century appears to be an unsettled one by the rules of chess. It is uni-polarity vs. multipolarity.    

Objectives of the Conference

The main objective of the Conference is to deliberate upon and analyze strategic and foreign policies of America, China, Russia, India and Pakistan in the Eurasian context, with a focus on the Central Asian Space. Other than highlighting the policies, the conference is basically aimed at gathering the most relevant scholars and intellectuals to know their views about the challenges and opportunities in the Central Asian Space within Eurasia. The conference broadly aims at achieving the following academic and research objectives: 

  • To debate the competing perceptions in Eurasia, to analyze the conflict of interests between Great Powers in the Central Asian Space and to deliberate where does Pakistan stand in the region in terms of challenges and opportunities?
  • To deliberate the 'worst case scenario with regard to Central Asian Space vis a vis insecurity in Afghanistan and the conflic of interests of the troika i.e. USA, Russia and China.
  • To analyze how different foreign policies can reconcile these conflict of interest to create a win win situation and stable inter-state relations.
  • To discuss the prospects of the integration of Central Asian Space in world economy and the role of regional states’ different foreign policies can play in the potential integration.
  • To talk over Pakistan’s foreign policy in the context of Central Asian Space.
  • To converse the opportunities and challenges faced by Pakistan in Central Asia.
  • To argue the situation faced by Pakistan in Balochistan in the background of Central Asia.

Conference Themes

Tentative Themes of Conference include but are not limited to

  • Central Asia in the Regional/Global Energy Market.
  • Strategic Importance of Central Asia for the Troika: Russia, China & USA.
  • Russia, China & USA: Convergence/Divergence of Interests in Central Asia.
  • The Prospective Role of SCO in Afghanistan.
  • China’s OBOR and Role of Central Asia.
  • CPEC: Implications for Central Asia.
  • Sino-Russian Cooperation in Central Asia: Prospects and Limitations.
  • Russia’s Policy Towards Central Asia in the context of Post-Withdrawal Afghanistan .
  • USA’s Role in Central Asia vis-a-vis USA’s Pivot to Asia.
  • Pakistan’s Role and Place in the New Great Game.
  • TAPI’s Future and the Interests of Major Powers.
  • Iran’s Vision of Central Asia.
  • Security/Insecurity in Afghanistan: Implications for Central Asia.

Important Dates

Kindly submit abstracts of 150-300 words clearly indicating objectives, methodology, results, and conclusions by April 15, 2017, which will be vet by the conference Organizing Committee that will intimate its decision regarding the acceptance or rejection of your paper for the presentation.

  • Deadline for the Submission of Abstracts:        April 15, 2017    
  • Intimation of Acceptance of Abstracts:            April 30, 2017    
  • Deadline for the submission of Final Papers:   May 31, 2017  
  • P.S. Boarding lodging will be provided by the organizers. Limited numbers of travel grants both international/ national are available.

           You are requested to submit your abstracts on the following email:

ascpesh@gmail.com or skhanr87@yahoo.com                                                            
Prof. Dr. Sarfraz Khan                                                         
Principal Organizer/ Director                                                  
Area Study Centre (Russia, China and Central Asia), 
University of Peshawar, Peshawar, Pakistan
Tel: +92 91 9216764 Ext: 102, Fax: +92 91 9216661      
                                          

Members Organizing Committee

Dr. Shabir Ahmad Khan                                                       Dr. Khalil-ur-Rehman
Associate Professor                                                             Assistant Professor
Area Study Centre (Russia, China and Central Asia),                Area Study Centre (Russia, China and Central Asia), 
University of Peshawar, Peshawar, Pakistan                           University of Peshawar, Peshawar, Pakistan
Tel: +92 91 9216764 Ext: 113                                              Tel: +92 91 9216764 Ext: 103
Email: shabirasc@yahoo.com                                                 Email: ruk9@live.com