Indian VP suggests confederation to solve problems

NEW DELHI: Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari on Wednesday released a book that calls for a confederation of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh but without undoing the partition as the only way to address poverty and resolve the Kashmir dispute.

“Regional cooperation with a focus on human security problems, on movement of people and on trade without unreasonable restrictions” was the need of the hour, Mr Ansari said at a function in Mumbai, apparently agreeing with the book’s argument.

“The common traits in cultural traditions and historical narratives need to be transmitted to younger generation through conscious promotion rather than prevention of cultural exchanges, films, and other cultural activities,” Mr Ansari said in his appeal to the governments and civil societies in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Mr Ansari made these comments while releasing August Voices, a new book by Indian peace activist Sudheendra Kulkarni, which calls for an India-Pakistan-Bangladesh confederation.

“Common action is easier on areas of convergence than of divergence,” Mr Ansari said. For convergence, there is a need to move “beyond the traditional paradigm of conventional security into those of human security and human wrong. Both are ignored by the governments and societies in our region. There is a crying need for the recognition and implementation of both. Only then would we develop the perception and capacity for correctives.”

Mr Kulkarni said his book sought to ‘harmonise’ the nationalism of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. “The people and governments of our three countries should refuse to remain prisoners of the past. We must create a better future for our coming generations, a future of peace, shared progress, eradication of poverty, justice and dignity for every human being in our subcontinent. To do so is our moral responsibility towards humanity. After all, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh have the world’s largest number of poor, deprived and divided people with common civilisational ancestry. Besides, neither India nor Pakistan nor Bangladesh can develop to their full potential without transitioning from discord to concord, from hostility to cooperation.”

Mr Kulkarni claimed that the idea of a confederation was embedded in the movement for independence from British rule. “It was favoured by several principal actors of the freedom struggle, such as Mahatma Gandhi and Mohammad Ali Jinnah.”

His book argues that the existence of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh as three separate, independent and sovereign nations is a reality that cannot be altered. Partition cannot be undone.

However, its negative outcomes can — and must — be undone jointly by the peoples and governments of India and Pakistan and Bangladesh.

The continued hostility between India and Pakistan, in particular, has created many problems for the two countries. It is also the principal reason for the lack of movement in regional cooperation in South Asia, as is evident from the fate of Saarc.

The book calls for India and Pakistan to arrive at a just, amicable, peaceful and compromise-based solution to the long-pending Kashmir dispute. It suggests that a lasting solution to the dispute is possible only through a ‘confederal’ agreement between India and Pakistan, which recognises that Kashmir belongs simultaneously to the two countries and also to the people of Kashmir.

Mr Kulkarni said that the three-nation confederation should not be seen as an idea of Indian expansionism. “It is based on the principle of equality. India, Pakistan and Bangladesh should remain separate, and yet together on issues of common concern and common benefit.”

Published in Dawn, December 29th, 2016

6 COMMENTS

  1. If a referendum is held in Pakistan India and Bangladesh, people will overwhelmingly vote for the confederation. If it happens this will be a turning point towards peace in South Asia and thus the world. At present the cold (and hot) war between India and Pakistan is like two starving persons wrestling with each other. The reason why India tries to harm us and vice versa is because India and Pak take each other for granted as arch enemies. After the confederation both will divert their resources from inimical activities to rebuilding of their countries. A win win situation for both countries.

  2. The idea of confederation of the three neighboring countries, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh is not bad provided all the complex issues including Kashmir is resolved amicably to the entire satisfaction of Kashmiri people. The confederation will also be helpful in the context of security measures to be adopted for elimination of terrorism in the sub continent. We will be able to focus on poverty and materialize our potential and resources on poverty and human development.
    I think there will be no problem of major difference of culture and living style of the masses because we already have a lot of experience of living together for a long time. The people on both sides have fed up with the Kashmir aggression which has resulted in bloodshed of thousands of Kashmiris.
    The philanthropists and policy makers consisting of re-known think Tanks of the three sovereign countries should sit together and prepare a framework covering all aspects. We should also consider the possibility of adopting a single currency of Rupee with the passage of time.

  3. India is seeing that Pakistan has become strong after entering into alliance with China and friendship with Russia. They think it to be wise to befriend Pakistan now. We should not show too much keenness in their proposal as they are left isolated in the region now.

  4. It is a sickening idea : Pakistan is created for lot bigger notion : our people are not understanding that any thinking of confederation or merging with Indian will be godly sin. Look what modi is doing to Muslims over at India. Definitely our governments are not delivering good governance but that does not mean we go back to those people that don’t treat you as human being. That is why allama Iqbal figured this out and that is the will of Allah : This is not solution to our problem : our problem is moral bankruptcy we are self centered, greedy and ignorant people.

  5. Sorry Sir Mr. V.P India! We do not need any confederation. By the grace of Almighty Allah, Pakistan will be the dominating country of the region in near future. We believe in the only Almighty Allah (SUBHANAH), HIS Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and the Holy Qur’an” Subsequently, we have the only sincere and reliable friend “The People’s Republic of China”. The timing of your out coming proposal reflects your ulterior motives of hypocracy. inferiority complex and isolation. So don’t worry Mr. V.P “As you sow, so shall you reap”
    We are Pakistanis, we have our own God gifted identity for which our ancestors have sacrificed thousands of lives and we never forget it nor we will forget our Quaid Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Dr. Allama Iqbal.

  6. from pre- page……… In my first comment, I have somehow agreed to the proposal but I have changed my opinion in the context of last over 65 years experience and rude and aggressive behaviour on the part of India. The current tensing situation of mutual relation with India particularly during the era of Moody’s government, we cannot even think about confederation.

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