President Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday said India and other SAARC nations should decide whether they hould live in a state of perpetual tension or develop in an atmosphere of peace and harmony leaving behind "divisions of the past"
Without taking the name of any country, Mukherjee cited the example of European Union and said that the mighty powers of the Europe were engulfed in battles for centuries but came together to form a common union, Parliament and currency
Delivering the Cavalry Memorial lecture on perceptions on formations of Bangladesh and India-Bangladesh relations organised by the Cavalry officers association, he referred to the formation of eight-member SAARC in 1985 to deepen regional cooperation for peace and prosperity
"In the last 30 years, we have created many mechanisms and institutions on the model of the European Union. It is, however, widely accepted that the full potential of SAARC is yet to be realised
"As I have often said, we can change our friends but not our neighbours. It is for us to decide if we want to live in a state of perpetual tension or develop together in an atmosphere of peace and harmony. We must look at a shared future leaving behind the divisions of the past," he said.
Indicating for drawing lessons from Europe, the President said Internet and mobile phones was peace dividends after all countries in Europe came together
"It can be seen that ending of conflict and establishment of peace contributes substantially to the transformation of nations," he advocated.