11 April, 2007
The Jamia Millia Islamia organised an India-Cuba Friendship Meeting on 12 April, 2007 at the Jamia Campus on the occasion of the official visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cuba, HE Mr. Felipe Pérez Roque. The Vice-Chancellor of Jamia, Prof. Mushirul Hasan welcomed the Foreign Minister and the Cuban delegation as well as other dignitaries present in the meeting hailing the visit of the Cuban Minister as a historic day for Jamia. He recalled the common experience of colonialism shared by the two countries and their political and economic trajectories as independent nations. He said that Jamia which was started by freedom fighters and has a great nationalist tradition, has taken several new academic initiatives through the formation of new research centers of which the Centre for Latin American and Spanish Studies is one. He hoped that the Centre would play a constructive role in encouraging academic exchange between India and Latin America in the context of increasing interest in Latin America.
Mr. Sitaram Yechury, Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha, recalled the role of Cuba and India in the non-aligned movement. He spoke of the importance of the Cuban revolution in the current context of the struggle against neoliberalism. He stressed the fact that the bonds of friendship between India and Cuba go beyond ideology and the two countries have a long history of friendship and solidarity.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs also stressed the strong ties between the two countries and highlighted the fact that despite the blockade and the persecution of Cuba’s relationship with other countries by the US, India has stood firmly by Cuba’s side in its fight for survival against the economic blockade. He further elaborated on how Cuba has not only been able to develop a self-reliant economy but also is able to help other countries of the developing world. He pointed out that in the current conjuncture, Latin America is witnessing landmark political changes with progressive and democratic governments coming into power and gradually regional co-operation is being strengthened. This will aid other developing countries in their fight against neo-liberalism and he has come to India with the hope that the Non-Aligned movement, of which Cuba is presently the Chairman and India one of the founding members, can once again provide a direction to these struggles. He wished the students and the members of the Jamia fraternity and hoped that there would be greater exchanges between Cuban universities and Jamia.
Before the meeting, the Minister inaugurated the new entrance arch to the Faculty of Engineering. The Vice Chancellor informed the gathering that soon a cafeteria named after the Cuban leader, Fidel Castro, would be opened at the Jamia campus.