India, Pak can''t live in perpetual tension: Pranab

Posted By: Manoj Kumar Ramesh
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New Delhi, Jan 12 (PTI) Citing the collapse of the BerlinWall that unified Germany, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjeehas said that differences between India and Pakistan may beresolved one day since the two cannot wish each other away andlive in "perpetual tension".

"I do not have the capacity to indulge in the romanticismthat like Berlin Wall, one day the differences may go. How thecourse of history will take turn, nobody can predict with thatprecision. It may happen", he said here last night at thelaunch of eminent journalist M J Akbar''s book "Tinderbox--ThePast and Future of Pakistan".

He said the collapse of the Berlin Wall and formation ofthe European Union were not foreseen but took place.

"Yes, the Berlin Wall collapsed. Yes, the EU has cometogether, which began with a limited approach and objective ofhaving some trade relations. It has united...side by sidethere are other examples also which we have seen with our owneyes- how a mighty unified structure (Soviet Union) hascollapsed just after seven decades.

"How a composite state created after the second World Warhas dismembered into three or four states within a short spanof 10-15 years," Mukherjee said.

The senior Congress leader said one can be selective inchoosing friends but not neighbours.

"Most of us will agree that we cannot wish away ourneighbours. We can choose our friends, we can be selective inchoosing our friends....But neighbours are there where theyare. I cannot simply wish them away. Those days are gone whenone could have displaced them by force," Mukherjee said.

Describing Pakistan as India''s "most important"neighbour, he said, "The stability and well-being of Pakistan"is in the interest of this country as the two could notdevelop and prosper in isolation today.

"The basic question before every Indian policy-maker iswhether we should live with our neighbour in perpetual tensionor try to live in peace. And fortunately, there is a broadconsensus across the political spectrum on these issues,"Mukherjee said.

The senior Congress leader said the two neighbouringcountries may have "insurmountable problems" but Pakistan wasIndia''s "most important neighbour".

"It is essential if we have to deal with our neighbour,we have to know what they are, who they are," Mukherjee said.

"I do not believe a nation state can simply wither,"Mukherjee said, in an apparent reference to apprehensionsoften expressed about the future of Pakistan as a nation. PTIRC PAL VMN

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