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University of Iowa News Release

March 17, 2005

Retired Indian Admiral To Discuss India, Pakistan At March 24 ICFRC

The growing tensions between India and Pakistan over the disputed region of Kashmir and the dynamics of the U. S. military presence in this region will be the focus of an upcoming Iowa City Foreign Relations Council (ICFRC) luncheon Thursday, March 24.

Laxminarayan Ramdas, a retired Indian admiral and one of South Asia's leading nuclear disarmament advocates, will discuss "The Challenge Before India and Pakistan," at noon in the Rockwood Fellowship Hall, Congregational Church, 30 N. Clinton St. in Iowa City.

"Right now, India and Pakistan are eyeball-to-eyeball with the largest military buildup in their history -- a million soldiers confronting each other at the border," said Ramdas. "The risks of escalation -- from a conventional war over the disputed territory of Kashmir to a nuclear exchange -- is greater than it has ever been. The governments of both India and Pakistan must immediately de-escalate the military buildup on the border, revive people-to-people contacts and come together in the cause of global nuclear disarmament."

Ramdas assumed charge of the Indian Navy, as the 15th Chief of Naval Staff, on November 30, 1990. He was commissioned in the Indian Navy in September 1953 after training at the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, England. He later trained at the Royal Naval Staff College in England and, as a commander, he established and commanded the Naval Academy at Cochin where he distinguished himself and was awarded the Vishisht Seva Medal. During the 1971 Indo-Pak Operations, he commanded the INS Beas during the blockade of East Pakistan (Bangladesh), which led to the surrender of 91,000 Pakistan troops. Ramdas served as Naval Attaché in Germany and held several positions at naval headquarters.

Now retired, Ramdas is co-chair of the Pakistan-India Forum for Peace and Democracy, and convener of the Indian part of the India-Pakistan Soldiers & Sailors Initiative for Peace. He is one of South Asia's leading nuclear disarmament advocates and has worked extensively in India, Pakistan, the United States and other countries on disarmament questions.

Taste of China will cater this program. This program is presented in part with the support of River Products Company, Inc. and Physicians for Social Responsibility, the organization sponsoring his trip to Iowa. The luncheon is also co-sponsored by International Programs. For those unable to attend the program, WSUI-AM will broadcast it on Friday, March 25 following the noon news.

Send reservation forms with a check to: ICFRC, 140 International Center, Iowa City, Iowa, 52242-1802. Reservations should be received in the office by noon, Tuesday, 22. Reservations are $7 for members and $8.50 for non-members.

For more information on this program or ICFRC, contact Tom Baldridge at 319-335-0351.

ICFRC is a non-profit association of community and university people interested in learning more about U.S. foreign policy, world affairs and current global issues impacting world societies. The group provides members with the opportunity to hear more than 35 experts per year who visit the UI campus and the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids area.

ICFRC is part of International Programs, which consists of a number of offices, centers, degree programs, academic programs, research projects and services. Organized under the associate provost for academic programs and dean of International Programs (IP), these units serve to further internationalize the campus and community and promote global scholarship, research and teaching.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Lois Gray, 319-335-2026, lois-gray@uiowa.edu; Program: Tom Baldridge, 319-335-0351, thomas-baldridge@uiowa.edu