A New Era of Engagement?
The Indo-Pak relationship is witnessing quite a few strides what with high-level talks, trade agreements and of course the very influential Aman ki Asha economic forum. Such steps are admirable for sworn enemies that are now looking to establish a new era of bilateral engagement. While outstanding military issues remain, movements to usher in peace and agreements to enhance trade can greatly benefit both countries and their people. Trade is perhaps the most critical and im- portant factor. With Pakistan revising the negative trade list and granting India the MFN status, it will curb mass smuggling of goods and will in fact benefit from its entry into the market. On the other hand, if India were to follow through on its promise of easing visa restrictions and tradable goods preferences, it could provide Pakistan with healthy competition and certainly help in alleviating the country’s trade balance. Both countries have much in common and it is only sensible to further economic ties. It is important to also remember that while exchange may not be approved at a governmental level, numerous Indian goods still exist in the Pakistani market through illegal means. It is only acceptable that the government while still allowing such entry of goods, makes sure to charge for it and benefit from imports.
Mudasir Bashir Islamabad, Pakistan
2. Much has been said recently about the Indo-Pak relationship. Over the course of a few months, numerous senior level trade talks have been held, with some commendable breakthrough. While both governments seem to be making a concerted effort to enhance bilateral trade, cultural and social exchanges, such as Lifestyle Pakistan, are also contributing an insurmountable amount with regard to investment, trade and cultural exchange. Furthermore, Aman ki Asha remains at its best to further dialogue and bring businessmen and analysts to explore innovative ways to do business. Though such efforts are certainly admirable, they will only go a certain extent before the relationship succumbs to the real problem: a military and strategic impasse. Against the backdrop of cultural and trade exchange lies the Siachen tragedy that remains an outstanding issue that absolutely cannot be ignored. Both sides will eventually have to talk about the issue and even though trade agreements have been signed, when push comes to shove it is debatable how much such advances will occur within a strategic and military framework. It is debatable whether both sides will be able to separate military deadlock with cultural and trade exchanges. Though such strides have not been taken in the past 63 years, there is of course reason to hope.
Kashmala Farooqi Hyderabad, Pakistan