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If Germany can unite, so can we: Advani

New Delhi, Sept. 17: L.K. Advani has once again floated the idea of a political confederation of India and Pakistan — a trial balloon he floated in January that sparked an outraged response from the Pakistani embassy.

Addressing a Ficci seminar in the capital today, the deputy Prime Minister said such a confederation could be based on the re-unification model of East and West Germany.

In January, Advani had suggested that Bangladesh could be part of a tri-nation confederation but he did not refer to the eastern neighbour this time around.

Advani said: “In history, there are times when two countries can develop allergy towards each other to such a great intensity, and yet, they (East and West Germany) are one now.”

Advani said despite Pakistan’s animosity towards India and its attempts to disrupt elections in Jammu and Kashmir, both countries could form a confederation for constructive utilisation of their limited resources.

“They do not even relish that elections are being held peacefully in our country and would like to disrupt these elections,” Advani said while inaugurating India Chem 2002, the second international exhibition and conference on chemicals, pharmaceuticals and petrochemicals here.

When Advani had first floated the idea back in January, Pakistan had accused him of trying to foist the Hindutva concept of Akhand Bharat on the subcontinent and had advised him to give up his pernicious designs on foreign territory.

Advani said India should become a developed nation by 2020. Asserting that the government was playing a pro-active role in promoting research and development in areas like biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and IT, he said: “A Rs 1.5 billion fund has been set up for the purpose.”

India’s export in these areas is primarily to countries like the US, UK, Japan, France, Germany, Korea and the Netherlands. “We need to thank our scientists and entrepreneurs without whom India would never have been able to become a power house in these sectors,” he added.

“India Chem is an opportunity for both domestic and foreign companies to get into long-lasting and successful collaborations. Combining swadeshi spirit and foreign support in R&D, infrastructural and scientific development will help the sector rise,” he added.

US’ problem: Sinha

Foreign minister Yashwant Sinha has said the US must do more to pressure Pakistan to stop crossborder attacks by extremists and rejected a dialogue with Islamabad until the violence abates, says a Reuters report from New York.

Days after President George W. Bush urged the leaders of the South Asian neighbours to directly address the root problems of their dispute, Sinha said ensuring President Pervez Musharraf adheres to his promise to end crossborder attacks on India is “America’s problem”.

As for US calls for talks, reiterated by Bush in meetings last week with Musharraf and Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee at the UN, Sinha said India is a “victim” of crossborder terrorism and Islamabad is “holding a gun to its head”.

“I think anyone who is saying that there should be a dialogue is equating India and Pakistan at this point of time and it’s not fair because India is the victim of crossborder terrorism,” he said.

“Any further progress toward dialogue or reconciliation can take place only after the gun has been removed. Therefore, to talk about a dialogue when Pakistan is holding a gun to our head is neither practical nor fair.”

He accused Pakistan of a “desperate” bid to disrupt the polls in Jammu and Kashmir.

“If your neighbour is sending all those terrorists with the express purpose of disrupting the elections, then more the reason why we should go through with the electoral process to show our commitment to democracy and our commitment to fight terrorism,” he said.

While Pakistan is key in the US war on terrorism, Vajpayee told the UN last week that Pakistan is a sponsor of terrorism that has failed to honour vows to end crossborder militant strikes.

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