Trading across borders: Building bridges for peace
Improving trade ties between Pakistan and India would create a more conducive atmosphere for resolving complex bilateral disputes
Trade ties would also facilitate religious and cultural tourism, as well as visits for people who have families on the other side of the border
I want to draw the attention of all the stakeholders towards the potential benefits of improving trade ties between Pakistan and India as a means of building better relations and resolving complex bilateral disputes. All the stakeholders, including trade bodies, civilian leadership, and the establishment, should be involved in discussing and pursuing a unified policy towards India, without resorting to embarrassing U-turns later on.
There are four key reasons why Pakistan and India should make peace now. Firstly, to ensure food security in the wake of devastating floods, Pakistan should tap into its neighboring countries for its immediate needs before turning to global markets, which could result in less time and fewer shipment costs. Secondly, the joint implementation of ambitious connectivity projects could create a region of prosperity for all. And India should not be suspicious of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), but rather view it as an opportunity for connectivity throughout South Asia, benefiting India as well.
Thirdly, both countries possess nuclear weapons, and the risk of a large-scale war that neither side wants is a concern. An escalation of tensions could lead to a full-scale non-nuclear exchange, which would be mutually destructive. Finally, improving trade ties would facilitate religious and cultural tourism, as well as visits for people who have families on the other side of the border.
In conclusion, improving trade ties between Pakistan and India would create a more conducive atmosphere for resolving complex bilateral disputes. I call upon all stakeholders to pursue a unified policy towards India too to achieve this goal.