Monday, February 22, 2010

Building Peace in South Asia

In the Global Forum program linked in here, Tariq Ali and Sanjoy Banerjee, a professor of international relations, discuss how peace can be built in South Asia with moderator Dr. Agha Saeed. Tariq Ali sets out the broad political and economic contours of the South Asian Union idea - with each country enjoying a veto in decisions internal to the Union (so that a large country like India cannot dominate). His vision includes visa-free travel and free trade, and he visualizes the external relations of the Union being conducted jointly. He also spells out how a region like Kashmir could be given special autonomous status within the South Asian Union, and how the Sri Lankan Tamil issue can be similarly addressed.

Sanjoy Banerjee argues that an economic union is certainly possible in the near term, but that a political union along the lines Tariq Ali suggests is at least several decades away. He argues that the different countries of South Asia are currently in different stages of political development, and until they all reach a similar stage, the goal of a political union will be difficult. Tariq Ali agrees that it will take time, but that it does not mean one should stop working toward this goal.

The video I link here is Part 1 of 5 clips. Other clips in the program deal with Afghanistan, Tibet, the role of China, and other related issues.