Former External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh, who was expelled from BJP for eulogising Pakistan founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah in his book, has been bestowed with the title "Ambassador of Peace" for South Asian region.
Peace International, a London-based organisation, conferred the honour on Singh for his efforts to establish peace in South Asia. President of Peace International Javed Raja presented Singh with a 'shawl' during a function held at the London Hilton Hotel last evening.
Singh described it as a "rare honour" and said he was a "very ordinary citizen of South Asia". "For the rest of my life, I will continue to work for peace and amity among India, Pakistan and Bangladesh," he said. Asking leaders of the region to "grow out of the shadow and hangovers of the collective history" Singh said, "If we continue to live in the past and dwell on the wrong accounts of several centuries, we will never be able to meet the challenges of today."
"Unless we jointly and collectively act together and address the challenges that we face, nobody else can help us. It is our responsibility to the present generation and the generation to come to find a solution," Singh said. "With the partition of India in 1947, peace has also abandoned the land. Unless we take responsibility for restoring peace, nobody will do it.
If we don't, nearly two billion people in the whole of South Asia will be doomed to poverty and misery," he added. Referring to his book, Jaswant Singh said, "I am not a historian.
At the age of 15 I went to military academy for training. I am a self-taught villager from the deserts of India. I do have, over the years, collected an almirah full of convictions." "Having been a soldier, it is easy for me to say peace is necessary. Soldiers, above all, do not want conflicts," he said.