Amidst rising India-Pakistan bellicosity, the notion of an ‘Asian Union’ along the lines of European Union, is like a salve on a deep wound that needs radical surgery. Improbable though it is, Asian Union is not a pipe dream. It will not happen in the next few decades. But in the next hundred years – who knows?
Dr Beni Agarwal is a diplomat extraordinaire. India’s ambassador to Greece, Lebanon, Bulgaria, and six other countries; an M Phil from Oxford a PhD from the US, he was Asst Professor of Political Science at Allahabad University – which had Harbans Rai Bacchan, Firaq Gorakhpuri, Meghnad Saha FRS, Dr MM Joshi (BJP President), Rajendra Singh (RSS Sarsanghchalak) and other luminaries in the faculty during his time. He thus has the academic underpinning and the diplomatic expertise to explore the concept of Asian Union.
He founded ‘Association for Asian Union (AAU),’ in 2001. After working on it for fourteen years,’ he concluded that the time was not yet ripe for it. And so in March 2015 he proposed an “Asian Democratic Union (ADU) – with Australia and New Zealand as Associates Members and USA, Canada, and other alike countries as Observers – to promote Human Rights, secularism Peace and Prosperity in Asia and in the World.”
AAU meet yesterday had many articulate voices. The more eloquent of these were those of HSH Immanuel, Head of State of the Principality of Monte de Agrella, an independent state in Europe, Prof Suman Khanna, PhD, Prof Anindita Balslev, PhD (Paris) and Dr J Patnaik, PhD, Vice Chancellor, Kalinga University. Under discussion was the name change from AU to ADU. Manjulika Agarwal and I suggested that the name Asian Union be retained because it hinted at a broad concept; the sub- text may say AAU’s focus will be on Human Rights, secularism, democracy and prosperity. I think our suggestion was accepted though a formal word on it is not out.
Dr Agarwal has an invitation to meet the PM and thus the opportunity to urge the PM to include AU/ASU in his agenda for peace and prosperity in Asia.
Yesterday was also Dr Agarwal’s 80th birthday. We wish him and AAU/ADU a long, healthy life of success.