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India, Pak not doing enough: Haass

Top US expert R Haass said India and Pak need to replicate example of one time foes France and Germany.

india Updated: Dec 13, 2003 11:07 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent

A unique blend of politics, academics and experience characterised the session on 'Securing South Asia'.

The panel comprised Lakshman Kadirgamar, former Sri Lankan foreign minister and currently advisor to President Chandrika Kumaratunga, president of Pakistan's Awami National Party Asfandyar Wali Khan (grandson of frontier Gandhi, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan) and Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, a key US think tank. Haass also advises the Bush administration on key foreign policy issues.

Expert's views

 Unless attempts are made to stop the youth from going across (to Pakistan), no agreement, internal or external, will stop terrorism

-- Omar Abdullah, National Conference

 It is important to test what the rulers in Islamabad are prepared to do. If they are positive and play a positive role towards peace, then we all win in South Asia

-- Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan People’s Party
 There can be no solution to Kashmir if you continue calling it your atoot ang (inseparable part) and we as our shah rug (jugular vein).

--Asfandyar Wali Khan, Pakistan's Awami National Party

 If India is to realize its potential, it needs stability and security in South Asia…India needs a stable and democratic Pakistan

-- Richard Haass, President of Council on Foreign Relations

 Political will is the essence of regional security and cooperation…the only way is to talk freely and frankly to each other

Lakshman Kadirgamar, ex-foreign minister of Sri Lanka

The panelists made a passionate plea for institutionalising regional co-operation for the security and socio-economic development of the region. They stressed that there was dividend from peace in store for India and Pakistan, which was also a pre-requisite for stability and security in South Asia.

The session was moderated by former foreign secretary J.N. Dixit, an old hand at South Asian affairs.

The three panelists articulated their thoughts on stability in South Asia from their regional perspectives.

"The world is now rooting for the same philosophy that we have been talking about for the last fifty years," Asfandyar said. He was candid when he said: "Madrassas that preach religious extremism are being funded by petrodollars of the middle-east. Unless their finances are checked, no power can control fundamentalism."

Stressing that India and Pakistan would have to bridge their differences for the security of South Asia, he said: "The solution lies in political courage, political perseverance and political sincerity... Regional co-operation on an institutional basis is a pre-requisite for a healthy socio-economic development."

Spelling out the Washington perspective, Haass said: "India and Pakistan can create a situation of mutual gains… they need to replicate the example of France and Germany which were foes earlier." He said the US foreign policy reflected the growing importance of the region.

Explaining the dividends in store for the two neighbours, he said: "If India is to realise its potential, there should be stability and security in South Asia… India needs a stable and democratic Pakistan."

Haass stressed that while the government of Pakistan needed to do more on the issue of terrorism, the two countries had to push trade relationship and people-to-people contacts.

"There is more trade happening between the US and Canada in one afternoon than India and Pakistan in a year," Haass quipped.

Former Sri Lankan foreign minister Lakshman Kadirgamar also stressed the need for a dialogue. "Political will is the essence of regional security and co-operation…the only way is to talk freely and frankly to each other," he said.

On the issue of India’s role in South Asia, he advocated a "proactive engagement" by India in resolving the Sri Lankan crisis. Kadirgamar highlighted its impact on the security situation of the region and especially of India.

"Proactive involvement for a solution will become inescapable for India as other countries do not have the stake India does."

Kadirgamar also blamed the LTTE for using ceasefire to double its strength and illustrated how the organisation posed a danger to the security and stability of the region.

First Published: Dec 13, 2003 02:15 IST