Appeal for peace in South Asia
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 01 February 2000, 17:14 GMT]
In a joint statement issued by the participants for the South Asian countries who attended the Neelan Tiruchelvam Commemoration Program in Colombo have made an urgent appeal to the leaders of India and Pakistan to take decisive measures to defuse the tensions before it is too late and to revive the Lahore process so that both Indian and Pakistan along with other South Asian neighbours march together building a vibrant and prosperous south Asian community.
The first signatory of the statement is a former Indian Prime Minister I. K. Gujral. Several other prominent personalities from Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and India have also signed the statement.
Excerpts from the statement are given below:
At the 1999 Lahore Summit, the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan initiated a process for peace and co-operation. They demonstrated their political commitment to transcend the burden of their tension ridden relations of the pass fifty years.
The people of both countries and indeed of all South Asian countries were heartened by the historic development and perceived that a new dawn of hope and harmony will usher in the new era of prosperity and well being. Within less than a year the vision for a better and peaceful future has become a distant dream. Peace is once again in peril in the subcontinent raising grave apprehension of the imminent danger of outbreaks of armed conflict between India and Pakistan. Such a path will result in unimaginable human and material destruction not only in the two neighbouring countries but also in the entire region.
South Asia is already marginalized in the world community and an armed conflict will only retard ,if not reverse even the faint hope of the South Asian people , who constitute one-fifth of the total world population, to respond to the challenges of the emerging interdependent and globalized world community.
Time has come for South Asia to make a critical choice between war and peace, destruction and development, poverty and prosperity.
Therefore, we the participants for the South Asian countries who have assembled in Colombo to honour the memory of a colleague who sacrificed his life for peace, make an earnest appeal to the leaders of India and Pakistan to take urgent and decisive measures to defuse the tensions before it is too late and to revive the Lahore process.