New Delhi: Citing the collapse of the Berlin
Wall that unified Germany, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee
on Tuesday night said differences between India and Pakistan may be
resolved one day since the two cannot wish each other away and
live in "perpetual tension".
"I do not have the capacity to indulge in the romanticism
that like Berlin Wall, one day the differences may go. How the
course of history will take turn, nobody can predict with that
precision. It may happen", he said at the launch here of
eminent journalist M J Akbar`s book "Tinderbox--The Past and
Future of Pakistan".
He said the collapse of the Berlin Wall and formation of
the European Union were not foreseen but took place.
"Yes, the Berlin Wall collapsed. Yes, the EU has come
together, which began with a limited approach and objective of
having some trade relations. It has united...side by side
there are other examples also which we have seen with our own
eyes- how a mighty unified structure (Soviet Union) has
collapsed just after seven decades.
"How a composite state created after the second World War
has dismembered into three or four states within a short span
of 10-15 years," Mukherjee said.
The senior Congress leader said one can be selective in
choosing friends but not neighbours.
"Most of us will agree that we cannot wish away our
neighbours. We can choose our friends, we can be selective in
choosing our friends....But neighbours are there where they
are. I cannot simply wish them away. Those days are gone when
one 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 not
develop and prosper in isolation today.
"The basic question before every Indian policy-maker is
whether we should live with our neighbour in perpetual tension
or try to live in peace. And fortunately, there is a broad
consensus across the political spectrum on these issues,"
The senior Congress leader said the two neighbouring
countries may have "insurmountable problems" but Pakistan was
India`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 apprehensions often
expressed about the future of Pakistan as a nation.