Indo-Pak Confederation proposals
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An Indo-Pak Confederation is a concept advocating a political confederation of the sovereign states of Pakistan and India as means of ending bilateral conflicts and promoting common interests in defence, foreign affairs, culture and economic development. While this idea does not end the sovereign existence of either nation, it is aimed to resolve the conflicts since partition of India in 1947.
The partition of India took place on August 14, 1947 dividing the provinces of Bengal and Punjab and with the independence of Pakistan as a result of the Pakistan movement, which advocated the "Two-Nation Theory" - that Muslims and Hindus are separate nations that could not live together. Partition provoked great communal conflicts and the dispute over the territory of Kashmir made both nations hostile to each other. India and Pakistan engaged in war in 1947, 1965, 1971 and 1999. However, some diplomatic efforts have succeeded in promoting bilateral trade, sports events and permitting Indians and Pakistanis to visit each other's countries through the Samjhauta Express and the Delhi-Lahore Bus. The 1972 Shimla Agreement and subsequent bilateral accords have bound both nations to seek a peaceful solution to the Kashmir conflict while promoting trade and economic co-operation.
Some politicians and academicians in India have promoted the concept of a confederation between the two republics as a means to resolve the conflicts while promoting common cultural bonds, economic development and solidarity in major issues, with a ceremonial head of state and important posts held alternately by Indians and Pakistanis. Some advocates of the concept perceive the two-nation theory to have been a failure, being unable to resolve conflicts between Muslims and Hindus, and that a closer bonding of the two nations would be the best possible solution. Others have envisaged a broader confederation between the members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) - Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka - akin to the European Union. According to some advocates, such an arrangement would not only end the Kashmir conflict and bring peace and progress, but would forge a powerful geo-political entity of equal standing with global power such as the United States, European Union, Russian Federation and China. Critics have described the proposal as naive and impractical given the extent of mutual distrust and antagonism.
The idea of a confederation gained prominence with the endorsement of senior Indian political leader and then-Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani, who on April 29, 2004 said in an interview to the Pakistani newspaper Dawn, that he envisaged both nations coming together to form a confederation: "I conceive that there would be a time when decades hence, both the countries would feel that partition has not solved matters. Why not come together and form some form of confederation or something like that." Another senior Indian politician Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia had similarly advocated the idea. This public endorsement from Advani, a prominent Hindu leader gave rise to much speculation and media coverage, but the Pakistani Foreign Ministry immediately responded by calling the idea a "mirage," and asserting that both nations were sovereign and this status was in their view "irreversible." Some leaders of the South Asian region have started talks about the practicality of this idea. Some advocates added that the nations be sovereign but they can issue a same currency and also sign an accord with which they can solve defence related problems with world powers like the United States, the European Union, and Russia.
Some Pakistani commentators have pointed out that Indian leaders specifically rejected the notion of such a confederation during the early years of the Cold War. Others have contended that two nations did not necessarily imply two states, and the fact that Bangladesh did not merge into India despite sharing cultural similarities especially with Indian Bengal, after separating from Pakistan supports the two nation theory.
- Two-nation theory
- Tribune India
- Advani moots Indo-Pak confederation
- Asghar Ali Engineer - IISCSSS Archived 2008-05-14 at the Wayback Machine.
- Some leaders of the South Asian region has started talks about the practicality of this idea. Some advocate that the nations be sovereign but they can issue a same currency and also sign an accord with which they can solve defense related problems with other powerful entities of the world like The U.S.A, Russia and China. More of the Indian population has shown some positivity to this idea, though feelings remain sharply polarized overall.Rediff
- Indian Express[permanent dead link]
- Advani's remarks on Indo-Pak union a 'mirage' Archived 2005-04-22 at the Wayback Machine.
- Raja Afsar Khan (2005), The concept, Volume 25,
... The important point is that Bangladesh did not merge with Indian Bengal even though both shared the same language and several other cultural traits ... Did not Bangladesh reconfirm that way the two nation theory ...
- "India and Partition". Daily Times.