At a solemn function organised at the Russian Centre of Science and Culture (RCSC), New Delhi, on September 4, 2012, a book entitled.”Envisioning Siberia: Awakening the Sleeping Land”, authored by Dr. Jatinder Khanna, a Delhi-based researcher and educationist, was released by Dr. Shashi Tharoor, M. P. (Lok Sabha) and former Minister of State for External Affairs, Government of India. The function was attended by an elite gathering.
Launching the book, the Chief Guest Dr. Shashi Tharoor touched upon the exceptional merits on the creative work of the author Dr. Jatinder Khanna describing it as unique. He noted that Dr. Khanna did a commendable job in providing exposure to the unexplored facets of Siberia still unknown to many people across the world. Congratulating the author, Dr. Tharoor expressed the hope that the book would be an asset for researchers, academics and scholars.
In her address, Dr. Jatinder Khanna said that the intention of the publication was to remind the world that Siberia would be a key to solving the problems of the world. The extract/ excerpt, which she read out reaffirmed the reality of the region and also highlighted its key challenges. “Siberia is projected as the new emerging economic and strategic hub of economic development in the Russia of the 21st century”, she noted.
Making his observation, Mr. Maxim Kozlov, Political Counsellor, Embassy of the Russian Federation in India, pointed out that Dr. Jatinder Khanna’s book provided an authentic view and holistic insight on the social, geo-strategic, economic, regional and international dimensions of the development of this vast region of Russia. Mr. Kozlov said that Siberia accounted for almost 90 percent of Russia’s natural gas production, 70 percent of its oil and coal output, most of its reserves of non-ferrous and rare metals, and big amounts of explored chemicals. It has half of Russia’s forests and more than half of its water and hydropower resources, he added. “The development strategy for the region through 2020 focuses on key areas such as public-private partnership, construction of new highways, housing and social infrastructure and creation of tourism zones. The Russian Government concentrates its efforts on areas such as Altai Republic, Altai Territory, Buryatia and the Irkutsk Region”, Mr. Maxim Kozlov concluded.
Earlier, in the course of making her welcome remarks, Ms. Yelena S. Shtapkina, Deputy Director (Culture & Information), RCSC, said that significantly the book-launch function was held in coincidence with the Conference on Russian Image Abroad, currently held in Moscow by the Head Office, in which the Director of RCSC was participating. She made a note of appreciation that the author has written a serious book with an objective, unbiased analysis.
Dwelling upon the great potential of the hugely resource-oriented Siberia, Dr. R. K. Mishra, Director, Institute of Public Enterprise, Hyderabad, referred to the strategic importance of the region in terms of economic development of Russia in particular and Asia in general. Dr. Mishra hoped that the wonderful handling of the research work, carried out by Dr. Jatinder Khanna, offered new prospects for India in the development of the region on a broader perspective.
Citing the academic spirit with which the author of the book executed the excellent job, “really a pioneering work”, Prof. Arun Mohanty, Director, Eurasisn Foundation, became emphatic in underling the point that the development of Siberia virtually meant development of Russia and that of Asia. He underscored the treasure trove of the region in respect of energy sources, precious metals, etc., narrating it literally an immense wealth in the country’s development point of view.
Making his assessment on the book, Prof. Aslam Mahamood, Retd. Professor of Statistics, School of Social Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, presented a round-up of the enormous economic assets possessed by Siberia.