Millennium Post

An Indo-Pak thaw?

The relations between India and Pakistan are at a new crossroads. Peace and confidence building measures have been taken by both countries that have the potential to lift the relations between them. Some of these are small steps while others are significant ones that may not only help take the relationship out of the quagmire it has found itself in after the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai but take it to a new level entirely. Among the small steps that are being taken is that of the resumption of cricketing ties between the two countries in the shape of permission to a team from Pakistan to participate in the T20 Champions League to be held in India in October. Though this is a minor step, it is nonetheless a sign of the times for it represents a thaw in the relations. Cricketing ties between India and Pakistan are inevitably hostage to tensions between the two countries and are called off, as happened in the aftermath of the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, when the going goes rough. The resumption of cricketing ties, however minor, suggests new hope for peace between the two countries. Far more important than the off and on cricketing ties between India and Pakistan are the steps taken by the two countries to improve economic ties.

A key step has been taken this time which is the grant of the most favoured nation status to India by Pakistan. It has to be noted that the most favoured nation status had been granted by India to Pakistan long ago. That Pakistan had not granted this status – which is nothing but the grant of similar privileges as to other countries under the multilateral trade agreements - to India was a disequilibrium in the relations and did not help ties. Now this great hindrance to bilateral trade has been lifted and other steps to improve economic ties have been taken as well, such as the opening of more border trade routes and allowing easier movement of businessmen. These steps have the potential to greatly increase bilateral trade, which can only be for the good. It must not be forgotton that it was increased economic cooperation in Europe after the devastations of the second world war that has allowed peace to prevail and prosperity to reign. Were this to be allowed to happen to South Asia, it would be for the best.
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