The opening speech of the IRC’s 5 th edition organised by Symbiosis International (Deemed University), Symbiosis School of International Studies was delivered by Dr Vidya Yeravdekar, Pro Chancellor at the Symbiosis International (Deemed University). She stressed upon the international nature of the Symbiosis institution that complemented the aim and purpose of the Symbiosis School of International Studies, which is a young, but prominent branch of the Symbiosis family. She believes Pune is an ideal place to set up the School of European Studies, and invited active collaborations with European educational institutions. Her speech was followed by an address by Dr. S.B. Mujumdar, founder and Chancellor, Symbiosis International (Deemed University). Dr. Mujumdar highlighted the importance of education, since education alone is the best medium to promote international understanding and open-mindedness. He stressed that apart from political and economic collaborations with the European Union, quality education would also go a long way in cherishing the motto ‘Vasudaiva Kutumbakam.’ His speech was followed by Ms. Shivali Lawale, Director at Symbiosis School of International Studies, who has been instrumental in developing a dynamic environment with state of the art curriculum for her students, who come from diverse national and cultural backgrounds, again embodying the motto of the Symbiosis family. Amb. (Retd.) Mr. Talmiz Ahmad, then took the stage and expressed his solid belief that the conference would help in giving a wonderful exposure to various thought-provoking ideas on India-EU relations. He mentioned how EU faces a current atmosphere of uncertainty and trusts the conference could throw up some valuable ideas on how the India-EU relationship could be reshaped. Following him was the video address given by chief guest, Shri. Suresh Prabhu, Hon. Minister of Commerce and Industry, Govt. of India. The Minister praised EU for being an exemplary example of how different countries have come together, setting aside differences for a higher goal. Prosperity between these two blocs has to be holistic, and not restricted to few key areas.
His Excellency, H.E. Tomasz Kozlowski, Ambassador of the European Union to India then stressed on how India and EU are natural partners sharing the same principles. He touched upon key areas through which India and EU could utilise existing opportunities in a better way be it in the field of climate change, technology, research – especially on water management, military or finance. He mentioned how for the first time the EU naval force had a joint collaboration with the Indian navy, highlighting the maritime security paradigm. He also mentioned how both the sides should remain committed on coming up with a mutually beneficial agreement. Following him, Mr. Gitesh Sarma, Additionsl Secretary (Pol), MEA, Govt. of India, mentioned how there is an important need for quality analysis and interpretation in the field of international relations. Lastly, Prof. Furqan Qamar, Secretary General, Association of Indian Universities highlighted the importance of globalisation in higher education. Dr. Rajani Gupte concluded the inaugural session with the final vote of thanks. Thus, the IRC is a pioneering venture wherein renounced scholars and academicians brainstorm on how to give substance to the India-EU ties.