This paper attempts to generate ideas for the formulation of a strategy for 'comprehensive regional security' in the context of the extended opportunities for SAARC with the entry of
The strategy should, and is, being conceived in the context of an emergent
This paper, furthermore, analyses the issues against the background of the evolution of SAARC as an institution and seeks to build on its achievements so far, modest as they are. In doing so, however, it is more focused on geo-economics rather than geo-politics and indeed, as it should (for a more complete treatment), on geo-psychology that motivates its peoples to want to cooperate and yet not.
In doing all of the above, it is hoped that this paper will stimulate ideas, and encourage further research, with principles and approaches for strategy-making. That should garner the full participation of the regional states, the peoples and the major powers of Asia as partners for mutual benefit with the strategic mission to attain regional peace and progress of South Asia together with modernizing
Notion of Security
Nation states and communities within it, just like individuals, feel insecure when their very existence, their material and financial assets, and their fundamental values are threatened by other nations, societies and individuals respectively.
Nations, communities and individuals' families feel internally secure when there exists, within its territory, communal harmony and tolerance so that there is safe from social turmoil and violence. They also feel secure when there is the absence of political disruptions with law and order prevailing with clear prospects of easy recourse to, and dispensation of justice, by a highly trusted judiciary.
Furthermore, all three entities feel secure when there is macro-economic and financial stability that contributes to rapid economic growth with improved all round equity--- be they between national regions, gender, class, caste, communities while striving to meet the very specific needs of the disadvantaged and the various age groups-- children, youth, aged—in the demographic make-up of the nation. This entails that governments adhere to universal principles of 'good governance' involving accountability, transparency, participation by stakeholders in decisions to be taken by the state with the quality of governance being gauged by the level and depth of political, economic and social corruption prevailing at any time.
All states feel threatened: be they continental, sub-continental, land-locked or sea-locked states. Nations feel secure when they are protected from external threats, and encroachments from outside involuntarily thrust upon them, to cast aspersions on its territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence. Nations feel secure when they can partake in the decisions and deliberations collectively being taken by the international community of nations. Nations feel secure, too, when they can modernize its social, economic and political institutions to keep pace with the competitive demands of economic and financial globalization being driven relentlessly by the unfolding revolutions ushered in by transport, communications, information and medical science and technology.
Feeling secure in this new age of inter-dependence and instant exposure of daily events throughout the far corners of the globe has got to be a challenging business. Because never before in mankind's history have there been so many nations with so many peoples making daily contacts at the state-to-state and people-to-people levels with attendant vulnerabilities and risks at the global, regional, national and community levels.
Collective security by the UN has been bypassed in the cases of
Further the UN's 'successes' in peacekeeping is now being questioned for its sustainability. Be it in East Timor; Palestine; Kashmir; Congo; Haiti; Ethiopia; East Timor; Somalia; Sudan, Rwanda or Sierra Leone.
It is as though we are in a "borderless world" where the tide of history moves on leaving nations, communities and individuals wanting 'comprehensive security' as opposed to mere 'national security'. The fundamental questions that any theory of comprehensive security must address are the following: (a) from whom, (b) for what end, (b) and how is it to be delivered to nations, communities and peoples?
Concept of Comprehensive Security
We learn (B.C.Upreti in Dahal and Pandey: 2006) that the concept of 'comprehensive security' is of Japanese origin with a vintage of around 50 years. How appropriate, then, that this 'extended' or non-traditional concept of security is being discussed at this International Conference today as
Japan developed this concept in the mid-1950s against the background of the fall off the imperial order in the ashes of defeat, dishonour, disillusionment, despair and disbelief with the surrender of sovereignty to the Americans; and from the traumatic psychological impact of the aftermath of the horrors and humiliation from the devastation and destruction by the two nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Bereft, as a nation, of all its imperial glory, possessions and stranded without its own natural resources other than its human resources.
Fundamentally, the Japanese doctrine of ‘human security’ rests on the premise that for national security there must not only be military security to defend the nation from outside threats but also 'human security' to 'defend' nations from inside threats as national stability depends on each individual having sufficient food security, employment security, social security (education, health and old age pension), energy security, information security (access to transport and communications).
Interestingly, it may be underscored here that the Japanese concept of 'human security' is not identical to that being propounded (unsuccessfully so far owing to strong
To former Canadian Foreign Minister, Lloyd Axeworthy, the most radical proponent of the concept, who calls forth new perceptions, attitudes and behaviour in public policy and multilateral negotiations where people are perceived as subjects of all international diplomacy and jurisprudence---not states nor governments. Human development and the quality of life are, therefore, paramount goals to be sought for international peace and harmony. Any retardation in the quality of life causes human insecurity and, therefore, are conceived as threats to world peace because in the emergent 'international society' non-state actors play a prominent role in word peace and progress.
It must be underscored that in regional and international affairs the novel concept being moved by Japan and Canada call, to be pragmatically meaningful, for preventive multilateral and regional diplomacy for peace so as to avoid violence, conflicts and, not least, wars--- be they 'cold', 'proxy', 'ethnic', 'civil', 'criminal', 'legal' or whatever. One would have to move beyond 'peace keeping' by the United Nations towards 'peace enforcing' .Then there is the vital question: should such peacekeeping be through preventive actions by the UN Security Council or based on implementing decisions by the UN General Assembly or indeed based on judicial review by the International Court of Justice for international rule of law to be paramount.
It is argued by many analysts that this concept took birth precisely after the end of the Cold War. One need ask what makes the concept valid with the end of the Cold War and not anytime before? Is this a concept driven, explicitly, by the force of world history or one, implicitly, seeking to preserve the supreme interests of the major powers that are vulnerable to the counter forces to globalization; who are no more in a position to command, control and coordinate their national self interests through traditional diplomacy relying on the use of force for compliance as non-state actors are increasingly involved in international politics.
The emerging concept of 'failed states' is an attempt to garner collective action against a ‘fragile’, ‘weak’ or ‘soft’ state or simply states-in-conflict or-crisis that may eventually threaten regional and global peace. But there is no guarantee that this collective action will ensue since the Permanent Five, with their veto power, can keep their national interests supreme above others.
The critical assumption or theory of human security rests on the premise that an 'international society' has emerged as a consequence of globalization following the demise of the Cold War with the collapse of the Soviet empire in 1999. Thus state and non-state actors have a role to play in nurturing and safeguarding ‘comprehensive security’.
Threats to Regional Security in
Then there is the glaring fact that each South Asian nation competes in the same markets for their exports and for the limited aid finance available through the multilateral agencies. This too compounds the fears from asymmetry because of the chronic lack of either trade or production complementarities within the region.
When the British left they did so in a hurry leaving many regional security issues in the dark---- the fate of the land-locked states of Afghanistan, Bhutan, Nepal and Sikkim; the fate of the Muslim majority princely states of Kashmir and Hyderabad; the fate of the Northeast tribal states and, not least, the fate of the entire eastern seaboard of the sub-continent from disruptions to the transport and communication linkages and production complementarities as a consequence of the partitioning of Bengal and the subsequent decline of Kolkatta as the premier metropolis of United India.
With each country actively pursuing economic policies of national self-reliance throughout the period 1947-1990, and being quite content with the low economic growth rates that barely kept ahead of the demographic dynamics, any hope of sound regional economic linkages was completely dashed making South Asia an ideal playground for Cold War geo-political rivalry between the West and East that accentuated the fears of hegemony among the smaller powers.
The Cold War may be over, but in South Asia its legacy lingers on rather actively as seen in the destabilization of
The South Asian region portends to be the new vortex of the emergent real politic in the post 9/11 new world order of emerging multi-polarity with, perhaps, its own unique multi-polarity with the arms race in the region; the non-resolution of the Kashmir question; the growth of violence on account of terrorism; ethno-nationalism, sectarianism, religious fundamentalism, communalism, inequalities between the urban and rural areas and the ascendancy of the Maoist ideology amongst the landless peasants and tribal communities suffering massive unemployment and acute deprivation.
The gravest threat to South Asia is the politicization of religion to make electoral gains as a strategy of the fundamentalists that is expected to multiply leaps and bounds with the onslaught of Christianity into the region coupled with the rise of Maoism in South Asia that rejects religion totally-- as the opium of the people to keep the poor suppressed under feudalism. Even more frightening is the threat of an alliance between extremist forces to destabilize the sub-continent across-the-board.
An Approach to Regional Strategy-Making
The central thesis of this Paper on which a 'comprehensive regional security' strategy is this: Five hundred years of globalization under Western supremacy is giving way leading to a new era of globalization that threatens the world with anarchy.
Strategy-making requires us to undertake a global security analysis as to the underlying and emergent forces of stability and instability; conflict and harmony; peace and war. The best sources for security analysis would be to draw upon the wisdom of historians as well as ecological futurists. William Woodruff's (Ibid: 20005) paradigm of future world anarchy rests on the following parameters: extreme inequality between and within nations; growing nexus between the military-industrial complex; international debt and migration; resurgence of religion as the world tires of consumerism, materialism, communism, nationalism and Western modernism found on rationality and individualism and the upsurge of 'revolutionary nationalism'.
But, in reality, more actually clamour for nationhood within states as seen in the civil wars and ethnic conflicts, for example, in
Elsewhere in Asia, the 25 million Kurds spread allover Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Azerbaijan and Armenia is a glaring example of 'revolutionary-nationalism' in West Asia that is coming to the fore of international politics as West and Central Asia are the energy security hubs of the globe faced with rising Islamic nationalism. Such a ‘revolutionary nationalism’ will impact all states –be they federal, confederal or unitary as demands for new boundaries and territories and, possibly, new forms of governance, will destabilize the immediate neighbourhood where the revolution is unfolding.
Tension will keep mounting in West Asia as the
"Our global civilization today is on an economic path that is environmentally unsustainable, a path that is leading us toward economic decline and eventual collapse…The military threats to national security today pale beside the trends of environmental destruction and disruption that threaten the economy and thus our early twenty-first century civilization itself" believes Lester Brown (Ibid: 2003), perhaps one of the greatest futurist of our times.
New threats call for new strategies. These threats are environmental degradation, climate change, health pandemics, the persistence of poverty and, not least, the loss of hope. The last parameter is best symbolized by the unemployment, alienation and angst of the world's youth that feeds anarchism in the wake of the unbridled consumerism and growing inequalities.
Some may be inclined to believe that threats from natural disasters should be conceived as an external force. The fact is that, except for earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, all natural disasters are actually man made caused by poverty, population explosion, excessive exploitation of natural resources resulting in "shrinking forests, expanding deserts, falling water tables, eroding soils, collapsing fisheries, rising temperatures, melting ice, rising seas, and increasingly destructive storms,” all that futurist Lester Brown underscores for us. Furthermore, he warns us that one of the great fault lines in the history of civilization is oil whose scarcity could reverse both urbanization and globalization processes causing cities to decay and rot.
Having undertaken global scenario analyses is it necessary to do a SWOT appraisal to assess threats to regional security from (a) national causes that will impact regional security and (b) threats from outside the region that will impact the region as a whole. It is assumed that unless there is agreement by and between SAARC members over these matters no strategy is likely.
They are just four broad forces of regional insecurity or threats to
Nor is a strategy likely unless there is general agreement on the 'guiding principles' to comprehensive regional security. It is submitted that they should comprise the following:
In brief, a comprehensive regional strategy should comprise a five sub-strategies each having their own set of objectives to move the process forward for securing the overarching regional security goal for SAARC. Namely, to preserve and protect the ecological integrity of South Asia; to be engaged in the dialogue between civilizations as a global power for world peace, for equitable prosperity for all the peoples of the world, and for the security of planet earth.
Needless to say, for
These sub-strategies could encompass the following components: (i) to generate faster growth as a fundamental requirement for effective comprehensive security, infrastructure development and advance South Asian competitive advantage in the global economy ;
(ii) build on the policy and institutional achievements of SAARC to further expand and deepen regional cooperation.; (iii) provide human security through a SAARC Common Minimum Programme (SA-CMP) to advance the purpose of the SAARC Social Charter through people-to-people collaboration to create a commonwealth of South Asian peoples; (iv) serve the needs of China and Japan and act as the anchor for a pan-Asia movement for Asian solidarity, peace and security and (v) move towards a new 'eco-economy' that is protective of the environment and planet earth with new values and life styles based on the South Asian ethos of caring, sharing, frugality, animal rights and deep reverence for Nature.
The Action Plans for Strategic Outcomes for Each Parameter
Broadly, the entry of Afghanistan, China and Japan changes the entire outlook for SAARC as a grand economic region with the Indian sub-continent composed potentially of 4 economic hubs or sub-regions---(a) the 'western seaboard' linked to West Asia and Africa by the Arabian Sea; (b) the 'northern Hindu Khush-Himalayan land mass' linked to Central Asia; (c) the 'southern seaboard' linked to Southeast Asia and Australasia by the Indian Ocean, and (d) the 'eastern seaboard' linked to Indo-China by the Bay of Bengal and BIMST-EC.
Parameter One: South Asia's collective competitive advantage lies in food processing, pharmaceuticals, steel, cement, aluminum, automobiles, financial services, health services, educational services, IT and electronics; construction; harnessing of Himalayan and Oceanic resources. The biological, physical and cultural diversity makes it the most fascinating tourist destination in the world.
Joint investments by the private sectors of
Joint investments in tourism infrastructure for developing heritage sites and routes, such as the
Most importantly, development of a new world heritage city at
China in SAARC will have profound impact on the development of the Hindu Khush-Himalayas as a new sub-regional growth centre with far reaching implications for energy, water and environmental security, especially as this region is linked with electricity-driven modern, high speed transportation to Central Asia and beyond into Russia and Europe and
South Asia, endowed with the world's greatest water towers and with its resplendent biological diversity, has unimaginable potential for
The harnessing of marine resources from the
Chinese and Japanese investments in transportation infrastructure will help boost development and modernization of
R & D Collaboration in S& T: With regional centres of excellence for technology development and venture capital funding for the (a) agro-based food industries (milk, vegetables, fruits and cereals, (b) forest –based herbs and wood industries and (c) engineering industries to develop technologies for enhancing land and machine productivity as well as controlling post harvest and post production loss and damages in storage, distribution and transportation in the agricultural and forestry sectors, (d) developing new clean processes to eliminate pollution of air, water and soil in steel, chemical, cement, (e) harnessing of marine resources, (f) defence, space and nuclear energy technology, (g) technology for the prevention of transmission loss and for storing hydro-energy and (h) harnessing of marine resources to benefit coastal, land-locked and sea-locked nations.
FDI for Infrastructure Development: So dismal is the infrastructure in
As all SAARC nations share borders with India only hence it will be incumbent on India to plan its infrastructure of roads, railways, ports, airports, waterways, irrigation canals, energy grids and water and gas pipelines to be integrated with its neighbours and construction and investment coordinated using resources available with China and Japan.
Integration is needed also to ensure that SARRC can have a system of multi-modal transportation where containers are carried by all modes of transport through sea ports, airports and inland dry ports. All these developments must be integrated with ICT infrastructure since communication is an integral part of transport, distribution, packaging and marketing of goods. With this kind of vision on regional infrastructure the whole region could eradicate poverty by 2015 –and not just halve it as per UN mandate.
If 'health for all' and 'education for all' are valid approaches to striking at the root causes of poverty so also we need, as SARAC, seek 'electricity for all' and 'sanitation and irrigation for all' as well as 'drinking water for all’ by 2020. None of this can be imagined without electricity. And energy is the underbelly of SAARC progress with lack of water a real threat to regional peace and security.
Information Technology: Collaboration in IT education with regional schools, colleges and curriculli will go a long way in creating trust, confidence and good will amongst the youth of
Such a conceptualization will take us 'out of the box', so to speak, from the one so divisively left behind as a legacy of the
Revival of the Gujral doctrine of non-reciprocity, announced in 1996 by
Exemplifying this out-of-the-box-think, is the view of C.Raja Mohan of
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) engaging China, Central Asian Republics and Russia, with India, Iran, Pakistan and Mongolia on the sidelines; the completion of the railway to Lhasa that will link the Himalayan region with China (in addition to the Karakoram highway) and Central Asia with Russia. This opens up new vistas of grand opportunities for development and modernization of the entire Hindu Khush-Himalayan region through the 'look west' policy of
Parameter Two: The idea is to strengthen SAARC with effective implementation of agreed to treaties and designing novel strategic targeted programmes. For example,
(a)strengthening the SAARC Regional Treaty on Suppression of Terrorism with cooperation on intelligence and border security to combat possible links between international terrorists, international business mafia, international anarchists and religious extremists. It can do with a definition of terrorism to give legal validity to the treaty;
(b) SAARC Treaty on Transit, Trans-Shipment and Transport is advisable to support the envisaged infrastructure modernization and investments; (c) SAARC Treaty on Protection of the Environment and Disaster Management be drafted. It should incorporate early warning system to monitor flooding, earthquakes, hurricanes, and forest fires; (d)
Designing a SAARC Youth Programme is a must for collective security and identity for the future and to generate faith and hope amongst the youth.
Comprehensive regional security is strategically meaningful if and when nation states devolve power to the people – to the panchayats or local communities--- away from the traditional dominant elites and their institutions. Sharing of power in some manner of devolution with active participation of NGOs and civil society professional and business groups is needed.
Parameter Three: SAARC Common Minimum Programme (SARAC-CMP) for poverty eradication through social mobilization of the poor and people-to-people cooperation with the support of China and Japan for micro credit, SMEs development for export production and marketing; illiteracy eradication; building organizations of the poor for self-managed development initiatives at the grass roots; bridging the urban-rural digital divide, and human development with emphasis on the girl child. Cooperation in these domains could also benefit directly both
More concretely, in the context of the institutional profile of SAARC the following funds should gradually be created with the participation of
SAARC Education Fund : Vocation and technical education for all should be part of the new SAARC with the financial and technical support of China and Japan contributing funds for a regional programme to assist those in the age group between 10-16 who wish to purse vocational and technical skills for jobs expected to be in shortage in Asia based manpower demand-supply surveys; these skills should meet standards that are acceptable to the labor markets overseas. Such skills should also include occupation that will be in demand in South Asia for the relocation of low technology, low labour cost industries from East Asia into
SAARC Micro Finance and Social Entrepreneurship Fund: Promote South Asian INGOs to generate private philanthropy from
Parameter Four: Create new institutions in SAARC such as (a) SAARC Council of Religious Leaders; (b) SAARC Council of Elders; (c) SAARC Council of Women Leaders; (d) SAARC Council of Parliamentarians; (e) SAARC Business Leaders Council; (f) SAARC Council of Dalits, Indigenous Peoples and Tribal Leaders; (g)SAARC Council on Migration , and (h) SAARC NGO Council .
A strategy for ‘comprehensive regional security’ must take cognizance of emergent threats to world peace and security. The wisdom of economic historian William Woodruff and futurist Lester Brown are supremely valuable as a basis for the scenario analysis so necessary for strategy formulation. So also the profound insights of V.S, Naipaul.
Strong states are a must for comprehensive security which entails a professional national army, para-military and police forces , intelligence agency as well as a national security agency that subscribes to ‘comprehensive security’ and not simply military and para-military doctrines
National Security Agencies should dialogue through participation in a SAARC Security Council whose strategic goals should be to enhance, preserve and protect environmental, energy, water, employment, health and cultural security and guarantee food security to all through regional cooperation and integration; and promote South Asia's collective security interests in the United Nations and other multilateral and regional fora by adopting a common position keeping in view the ecological unity of South Asia as one region bound by one civilization.
Create SAARC- Japan and SAARC-China Business Councils to promote trade, investment and technology through annual summits bringing together representatives from academia, diplomacy, bilateral chambers of trade and commerce. The Council should also draw up a framework agreement on SAARC-China and SAARC-Japan FTAs and/or preferential treatment for the LDCSs and serve as a forum for exchange of ideas on WTO and other multilateral institutions
The expanded SAARC can be the true building bloc for the larger Asian Economic Community as was envisioned by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and as is being envisioned by
Work pragmatically using the legal functional approach for regional integration taking advantage of the common legal heritage derived from the legacies left by the Mughal and British empires in South Asia; by strengthening the existing treaties, and signing new ones using the institutional innovation of the diverse Councils of SAARC to derive the necessary top-down approach to regional cooperation and integration. This way a Social Union of South Asian nations will be nurtured with people-to-people interface and dynamism to help build confidence amongst the elite of South Asia to move towards a SAARC Peoples' Commonwealth of Nations that would give dynamism to the goal of a South Asian Economic Union.—and beyond. It may be possible that with all these integrative steps a Confederation of South Asian Nations will, someday, be a reality.
Security issues should be conceptualized comprehensively. That said, its strategizing should be compartmental, given its complexities and the specific constraints and bottlenecks, and done within the framework of relevant regional treaties to guide and govern each parameter in a systematic functional manner.
Weapons cannot defeat terrorism. Nor can they arrest deforestation.
How far expansion to include Afghanistan and China and Japan will lead to comprehensive security cooperation in combating threats from nuclear and military arms race; energy, water, food and employment insecurity; inequality; democratic deficits; religious fundamentalism; failed governance; political extremism; regional spillover impact from political instability in one state upon another; ethnic cleansing; insurgency; civil war; terrorism; ethno-nationalism; pollution; waste management and global warming remains to be seen. The entry of these nations into an expanded SAARC must be gauged for their impact on comprehensive regional security. The peace and prosperity of Asia depends critically on the ability of
Comprehensive security must not only be conceived as matters of national and regional interests ---equally seek to protect and promote community interests. People-to-people cooperation, therefore, is as vital as state-to-state cooperation for comprehensive regional security to be a living social reality
Cooperation for comprehensive regional security requires that
Regional comprehensive security cannot take off unless states agree to expand national security policies and strategies towards comprehensive national security and to recognize that national comprehensive security can only be possible through cooperation through regional security arrangements.
Lack of cordiality in relations between
Track II diplomacy is vital for confidence building. It is hope that draft regional treaties could be worked out to progress the dialogue on policies and strategies which will eventually help Track I diplomacy. It would be beneficial if these functional treaties concerned with the various parameters of comprehensive regional security could be open to signature by at least three nations leaving it open for others to join when they deem it suitable to their national interest.
So long as the Kashmir question remains unresolved terrorism will prosper in South Asia with the ‘new cold war’ between the two South Asian nuclear powers thus heading towards general anarchy and self-destruction as terrorists, fundamentalists, business mafia and social anarchists join hands to create instability, chaos, confusion in the wake of the impending water, energy, health, food, public and peasants' debt crisis This could be aggravated severely with the destabilizing hand/s of extra-regional powers.
The strategy being visualize may be perceived as making all of
From 1985-1990 the threat of marginalization of
From 2002, after the events of 9/11 when terrorists attacked the
Around one million Indian and
The interplay between extremists--- fundamentalists, secularists, Maoists, anarchists and the business mafia---- will shape the course of security in
'Peace' means the successful resolution of human conflict arising from the differences between them. For peace we have to build on the commonalities while containing the differences through dialogue and cooperation so that all gain from the bargain. Truth is not absolute. It must be shared.
Perceptions of what is the truth, what is good and what is evil must be shared to get to the reality of it. National interests must be reconciled to the health of planet Earth. All interests are secondary to this overarching natural need. The value and significance of human life will be dependent on the value and significance that we, as humans, give to Mother Nature.
We lack a world outlook. Notice how the Bush-Blair or the Anglo-Saxon doctrine of global security is being questioned by their own peoples A new world moral outlook must, first and foremost, be enunciated. Here we are already blessed by the moral preaching on peace and compassion by Lord Buddha; by Mahatma Gandhi from his message of truth and reconciliation and non-violence, and by the teachings of the great modern Saint, our own Shivapuri Baba's who stresses upon duty, devotion, discipline, and discrimination as the fundamentals for a moral and happy life for all.
Considered to be one of the greatest modern saints of South Asia (Ibid: John Bennett: 2006), Sri Govindananda Bharati, popularly known as Shivapuri Baba to the Nepalese, has left behind for us all his teachings of Swardharma or Right Living on how to connect the three disciplines of Body, Mind and Soul in the quest for (eternal) Truth. The beauty of his teachings lies in the deep wisdom that whereas the three disciplines are the same for all times and all the peoples of the world yet, for practical purposes, they differ from one age to another, one nation to another, one individual to another--- even for the same individual living in different conditions and different geographical spaces
It is high time that international politics and economics in the 21st century be nourished by the intangible forces that move humanity as they go beyond interventions in the frontiers of science, technology, natural resources and financial capital. We need a veritable dialogue between civilizations now. It is essential that the West, foremost, reconcile itself to the fact that doctrines of liberal democracy, individual liberty and freedom are not universal; and that the rhetoric of 'evil empires' are a non-starter to such a dialogue for universal peace, goodwill and harmony.
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