Pune could play a leading role in carrying out research activities in the newly-constituted union territory of Ladakh, said its MP Jamyang Namgyal.
On Wednesday, he was speaking on the sidelines of an event organised to mark a new beginning of friendship between Pune and Ladakh, especially after the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, of which Ladakh was a part.
Soon after the announcement in August, Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) was among the first institutions to propose the expansion of its campus to the new UTs, J&K and Ladakh.
Following this, the SPPU Senate unanimously agreed to write to the state government and submit a proposal expressing interest to set up a campus in the two new UTs.
Late last month, SPPU Vice-Chancellor Nitin Karmalkar and Registrar Prafulla Pawar had visited J&K and met Ladakh Council officials in this regard. It was learned that the university will most likely set up a research centre in Ladakh.
However, officials had said being a state-run university, setting up a campus did not look feasible at this point of time.
“I am happy with SPPU’s initiative in proposing to set up a research centre. We have high expectations from SPPU and other educational institutions in Pune. Not enough research in areas that Ladakh offers, during all these past years, was taken up. Pune can play a leading role in research. The contributions in this manner will not remain limited to Ladakh alone but will be meant for the whole of India,” Namgyal said.
With the Centre recently announcing a government medical college in Leh, Namgyal said they were also hopeful of opening their doors to IITs and similar institutions of national repute.
University officials said positive talks were taking shape and that ties with Ladakh will last long. Commenting on the proposed scientific research centre, Karmalkar said, “SPPU aims at providing quality education for students of Ladakh, who, through similar efforts, can be brought into the mainstream education system. The idea remains to have a platform for exchange of knowledge.”
A geologist by training, Karmalkar has visited J&K and Ladakh several times since 1984 for his doctoral and other studies. Besides scientific research, Buddhist studies is yet another area that university officials are considering in Ladakh.
Elaborating on the vast areas that needed dedicated research, Namgyal said, “We can explore study areas on glaciers, solar energy, hot springs and geothermal energy, which are rare opportunities for researchers. Ladakh can offer a range of non-conventional energy sources for study.”
Located at the altitude of 3,000 metres above sea level, Ladakh was known as the ‘Crown of India’ and there was a greater need to understand the land, said the 33-year-old MP.
“Located along the border areas, Ladakh can best suit courses on defence studies. Besides, using IT (information technology), the land can be best used for the surveillance and strategic purposes,” he added.