November 10, 2005

Asia Times Letters

Ironically, while Farid Bakht [When will 'South Asia' disappear?, Nov 10] calls for dumping the baggage of colonial legacy from the nations in the Indian subcontinent, he forgets that "South Asia" as a term is indeed alien to the region. None of the countries share the slightest traits in common with each other except all of them having something or other in common with India. India is the glue that affords lending a regional name to this diverse area. Therefore, by harping for the correct formulation of the region, he may be unconsciously siding with the Hindutva ideologues who want to turn back the clock on partition. Now who's stuck under the baggage of history? Second, his predictions about the imminent collapse of the BSE [Bombay Stock Exchange] are based on mere speculation. The market has already been corrected in the last week or so. The fundamental point is that macro-economic fundamentals and corporate balance sheets of India are extremely healthy, and that is in turn likely to keep foreign funds interested in the market. Where direct foreign investment is concerned, India is rather insular. While that has its disadvantages, it also makes India less prone to succumb to a global downturn. Finally, the author seems peeved at India's de facto dumping of Dhaka over the Myanmar gas pipeline. If only the jihad junta could be controlled, and Bangladesh would quit dragging its feet over the project – and SAFTA [South Asian Free Trade Area] – things could well be different.

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