While we work towards an Asian Union, we have in mind sub-regional cooperation already taking place in various parts of Asia as well as the larger sphere of Asia –Pacific cooperation which will bring in cooperation between Asia , Australasia & North as well as South America.
Cooperation at the Asian continental level is not antithetical to organizations at sub-regional level, or to cooperation at the global level. Regional and sub-regional cooperation can reinforce each other and the two together can be intermediary to global cooperation. They are like building blocks at different levels. The whole body has no healthy existence without healthy parts and parts are healthy only when the whole body is healthy. While in relation to sub-regions like ASEAN, SAARC, SCO, Gulf Cooperation council etc. dialogue at the Asian level is the macro level, in relation to the global dialogue, it is the micro level.
ASEAN is already a spectacular success and has even created an ASEAN Regional Forum. ASEAN+ 4 summits have already created a nucleus for an Asian Union.
For South Asia there is a registered NGO since June16 1999, under the name “Forum for Confederation in the Sub-Continent" (FOCIS). It has not taken off yet mainly because of the sharp conflict between India & Pakistan but efforts to resolve that conflict are on. Given below are the "Preamble" & "Aims & Objects" of “FOCIS”. South Asians who take membership of Association for Asian Union (AAU) are automatically members of FOCIS as well, unless they wish to join only AAU.
Preamble of FOCIS (1999)
• Keeping in view the importance of peace and tranquility in the Sub-Continent, the region and the world as a whole; .
• Recognizing the dangers resulting from conflict and confrontation, particularly after the recent nuclear tests; .
• Realizing the importance of economic development and poverty alleviation in the Sub-Continent; .
• Being aware of economic complementarity and common economic interests of countries of the region; .
• Conscious of the geographical unity, historical past and social and cultural affinity of countries of the Sub-Continent; .
• Following the laudable example of European Union, in which old adversaries have become pillars of a remarkably successful economic union , with a stated goal of political unity; .
• Desirous of reclaiming for the Sub-Continent it's rightful place in global affairs; .
• It has been decided to launch a "FORUM FOR CONFEDERATION IN THE SUB-CONTINENT", with the aims & objectives narrated below. .
Aims & Objectives of FOCIS:
1. To work for achieving the goal of a confederation in Sub-Continent. .
2. To educate people in all the Countries of the Sub-Continent, regarding the benefits and need for a Confederation in the Sub-Continent. .
3. To educate common people on the concept of Confederation and to make them realize that it does not involve loss sovereignty of a country or identity of a nation, thus making the goal acceptable to all. .
4. To promote healthy, constructive and in-depth debates and studies on the modalities and framework of a confederation in the Sub-Continent in various circles-political, economic, media, academic, youth and students - through seminars, exchange of speakers, publications, films, television and research grants etc. .
5. To work for greater economic interaction among countries of the Sub-Continent, particularly the SAARC countries, including efforts to achieve a Free Trade Area and a Common Market, as well as common currency, on the pattern of the European Union; and to provide consultancy to individuals, business houses and governments, with a view to achieving these goals. .
6. To promote religious harmony and to counter negative elements like Communalism, Fundamentalism, religious bigotry and extremism in any form, which hinder growth of a positive environment for achieving a confederation in the Sub - Continent. .
7. To promote people to people contacts among citizens of the Sub-Continents, particularly the SAARC countries, in all sectors, namely political activists, business people, intellectuals, writers, scientists, people connected with art & culture and youth organizations. .
8. To promote tourism within the Sub-Continent for furthering people to people contacts and for mutual economic benefit. .
9. To assist and co-operate with other Associations, Trusts and various NGO's whose aims are similar to those of FOCIS. .
10. To raise possible and necessary resources - financial, intellectual and of manpower, and to create a viable & widespread organizational infrastructure, with a view to achieving the above goals. .