Thursday, March 27, 2008

The India of the future will be a voluntary association of States

[Political Inquiry from Indistinct Union by cjsmith
In a recent
comment back and forth Matthew and I had, Matthew wrote:
The very impulse to have a federal-gov’t-level response to social issues such as education, health care, and more bespeaks his fundamental liberal/progressive disposition. Contrast this with the fundamental conservative/libertarian disposition, which would have those issues settled by civil society and the states…]

[What can India do to promote solutions to the intractable problems on its borders? Home > Edits & Columns > COLUMN Soften these borders C Raja Mohan
Posted online: Thursday, March 27, 2008 Peoples of South Asia’s frontier regions should interact with their cultural kin across boundaries

For one, it must stand firm in its principled opposition to the break-up of the existing states. It is the fear of disintegration that has driven the Chinese communists and Burmese generals to cracking down so hard ons the recent political protests.
Two, while ruling out the creation of new states, India must encourage its neighbours — Myanmar, China, Nepal and Pakistan — to move steadily towards granting genuine autonomy to ethnic minorities. India’s relative success in managing diversity and mitigating the many insurgencies it had to confront is rooted in its federalism. The Tibetan revolt has underlined the reality that no amount of economic growth can overcome the minorities’ quest for cultural autonomy and political dignity.
Three, India must also encourage its neighbours to think about softening the existing borders. The peoples of the Subcontinent’s frontier regions have suffered greatly from the rigid territorial conceptions of the nationalists. They badly need the freedom to interact with their ethnic and cultural kin across the national boundaries.
Together, these principles — legitimisation of existing borders, significant autonomy, soft borders and cross-border institutions — are at the core of India’s strategy to settle its own extended dispute with Pakistan over Jammu and Kashmir.
The same principles should help guide our neighbours in addressing the political aspirations of the minorities in Myanmar, the Tibetans, the Uighurs of Xinjiang, the Pashtuns across the Durand Line, the Baloch, and the Madhesis in Nepal. The writer is a professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University,]

C Raja Mohan hastens to bite off more than he can chew by proposing a mélange of measures exposing his double standards. He prohibits creation of new states in India but wants her neighbours to grant autonomy to ethnic minorities.

Rather, time is ripe for the fruition of Hiranmay Kerlekar’s prediction, “Let Hundred States bloom.” The India of the future will be a voluntary association of such States encompassing territories that are lying far away from the present national borders. M&As amongst these States must happen organically upon common agreement. [TNM] The logical extension perhaps is to free the 'national' borders

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