The Indo-Pak Problem
(With Pressmen at Delhi, April 1966)

Q : What, do you think, is the permanent solution to the Indo-Pakistan dispute?
A : Historically, this has been one country. Merely because a man professes a particular way of approach to God, that does not take away his nationality. If this be accepted, the people living on the other side of the present border, but actually in our own country, should be treated as ours. Therefore we have been saying that the independent existence of this State called Pakistan which, as many of our great leaders have said, was born out of a sense of hatred, should cease.
We were one in the past. Because of some unfortunate developments, we have become two. Let us become one again. That will solve the problem.
Q : Is this solution practical?
A : Well, many things which appear impractical in the beginning become not only practical, but actual facts.
Q : Do you think Partition of India has been similar to the Partition of Germany, Korea and Vietnam ?
A : All these have been very unfortunate developments. That people of the same country should arrange themselves against one another in the name of any particular ideology, and then separate from one another into two states, is certainly unfortunate.
Q : In Pakistan there are groups of people who have a vested interest in the continuance of Pakistan as a separate State.
A : Now if vested interests mean only enjoyment of certain positions of power, that is detestable. But if there are other interests also which may be termed as more important and wide, then we should think that for the sake of these more important interests, our coming together will be a boon to all.
Q : According to you, what is the way?
A : It is one of change of heart.
Q : Short of reunification, do you think there is no other solution?
A : So long as the basis of the formation of Pakistan is not forgotten and so long as they believe that their existence depends upon hostility towards us, I think there is no other solution.
Q : If India and Pakistan become one State, what would be the guarantee for communal harmony?
A : Well, in our country, we have already a very large number of those who profess the same faith as the majority do in Pakistan. We are nevertheless living in a sort of communal harmony. There may be some sporadic outbursts now and then, but I do not regard these sporadic outbursts as permanent features.
Q : How do you visualize India and Pakistan becoming one-some sort of loose integration, or as a federation, or its complete integration into India?
A : Three stages, you said - loose integration, federation and complete integration. Well, it may come in that very order.
Q : How will you achieve it?
A : At present, the situation is one of hostility. If there is an outbreak again then I think the matter may become more simple, in the sense that in the heat of conflict many things can be achieved, even reunion. But our people have to make the other side feel assured that reunion is not going to mean any enslavement, but would be like a common partnership as equal citizens in the conduct of all the affairs of our country. Then, in case of hostility, there may be some intransigent persons who may be overcome.
Q : Would it be correct to interpret your statement by saying that unity can be achieved through the conquest of Pakistan by India?
A : I don't see why it should be called conquest. I have tried to make it clear that it is not a case of enslavement but a case of sharing a common fate - fate of our country, with all its joys and sorrows in common.
Q : Do you think that if India and Pakistan remain separate, then there will always be some outside party dabbling in the affairs of this country - just as we have the Chinese now?
A : Yes. So long as we are at loggerheads with one another we give so much room for strangers to step in, whosoever he may be - whether it is China or someone else.
Q : Do you oppose negotiations with Pakistan?
A : Before starting negotiations, we should be ready for the eventuality of the negotiations failing.
Q : Suppose they fail.
A : We should negotiate only upto one point. We should not negotiate till 'our' end!
Q : Do you consider Pakistan a theocratic state?
A : Sometimes they say that they will protect the non-Muslims there, but do exactly the opposite; sometimes they declare that they shall apply the same law to all their citizens but in the very next breath declare that they would follow Shariat. So all that can be said about Pakistan is that it is an 'uncertain state'!
Q : While considering what has happened in the past, and what has made Pakistan and India two countries, do you feel that we have nothing to think about ourselves and within ourselves, whether there was not some mistake in us? Was the fault only in them?
A : We have not only to think about their mistakes and our mistakes, but also the mistakes, or probably motivated actions, of the third power that was here. Without that, we will not be able to come to a proper decision.