Regional Economic Cooperation

Building Peace through Trade: The Future of Indo-Pak Relations

  • India should shed its myopic approach to trade deficit and free-trade deals

    South Asia Monitor, November 14, 2019

    In October 2019, the World Health Organisation released its first-ever World Report on Vision. It estimated that myopia, or short-sightedness, affects a whopping 2.6 billion of the global population. Fortunately, while India escaped the worst affected list, a majority of our policymaking, industry, and expert community appears to have contracted a unique form of myopia: an intellectual one.

  • Why India Shouldn’t View its Refusal to Join RCEP as a Victory

    The Wire, November 06, 2019

    India has opted for a status quo by refusing to join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). While the fears of cheap import surges hurting our dairy and agriculture sectors have been abated for the time being, the decision does nothing to enhance the competitiveness of our domestic industries or to make them ready for global competition.

  • India-Japan ties will get closer if civil society groups are involved

    Asian age, January 09, 2019

    India’s relations with Japan are one of the most unique ones covering trade, infrastructure and strategic issues in a wide sweep. Its gravitas was visible during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Japan in October for the 13th annual bilateral summit, along with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan.

  • Myanmar’s economy on a growth path

    The Asian Age, November 06, 2014

    Myanmar is now on the growth path with several countries providing aid and technical assistance. India is one of them, for several reasons. India shares a border with Myanmar and have a treaty to build the India-Myanmar Friendship Highway and the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway. The Friendship Highway is lagging but one hope it will pick up speed soon after the government of India has agreed to increase its role. Both these roads will help our and Myanmar’s economy in a big way

  • Neighbourly trade

    The news on Sunday, May 11, 2014

    Trade is expected to be big part of India’s foreign policy when the new government comes in this summer. More importantly, States will be closely engaged in the strategy, which would also allow them to speak with their counterparts in neighbouring countries to enhance trade. Let us review the current situation of trade with neighbours. Only 137 items are allowed to be traded via the Attari-Wagah post bordering India and Pakistan. ‘Ridiculously small’ is an under-statement because there are more than 10,000 items, which are legally traded across the globe. This lack of cross-border trade between the two nations who fought four wars since their independence is as much due to absence of political will on both sides and as a result of poor trade-related infrastructure. Fortunately, the necessary infrastructure has now been developed due to an enlightened policy on both sides. This policy will be revisited after the Indian elections in May to allow cross-border trade in almost all commodities

  • Potential trade route

    The News Pakistan, April 13, 2014

  • Why it is time to explore cross-border trade between Raj & Sind

    DNA, April 09, 2014

  • Why cross-border trade between Rajasthan and Sind?
    The Financial Express, Bangladesh, April 05, 2014

    Cross-border trade between India and Pakistan through the land route has picked up steam after the recent détente. However, much of the same is happening between Pakistan’s West and India’s East Punjab through the Wagah-Attari border and between the two parts of Kashmir. What is absent is the possibility of trading between Rajasthan and Sind. In the first two decades of independence in 1947, bilateral trade between India and Pakistan was very frequent. According to estimates, out of the total trade between the two countries, 70 per cent of India’s imports from Pakistan and 40 per cent of India’s exports to Pakistan were channelised through land routes. The trade volumes were significantly high. The reason is simple. Cross-border trade was at full pace before the 1965 hostilities, but it slowed down since then, until trade resumed recently.

  • Cross border Trading on opportunities

    The News, Pakistan, February 03, 2013

    One feels sorry about the recent tension between India and Pakistan across the line of control not only due to the losses of precious lives on both side but also due to the fact that such unfortunate incidents may ruin the nascent peace process. However, it is heartening to note that tension is easing off and both the governments still seem to continue working towards implementation of SAFTA through bilateral trade normalisation. Last two years had witnessed a number of promising developments on commercial relations between India and Pakistan. And they have to be nurtured as against just crying over Pakistan’s decision to delay the grant of Most-Favoured-Nation status to trade with India. Recent developments show that Pakistan has provided de facto MFN to India

  • Indo-Pak trade needs a push

    Business Line, January 14, 2013

    Trucks to Pakistan, at Attari -Wagah border near Amritsar…Trade can be enhanced in 65 per cent of the tariff lines, with Pakistan having moved to a negative list approach. Instead of waiting, non-state actors should reinforce governmental efforts with their own and take advantage of opportunities of improved commercial relations. The last two years have witnessed a number of promising developments on commercial relations between India and Pakistan. And they have to be nurtured, as against just crying over Pakistan’s decision to postpone the grant of the most-favoured-nation (MFN) status to trade with India. Recent developments show that Pakistan has provided de facto MFN status to India. The Indian establishment should look at it as a deferred success of its diplomatic efforts

  • Indo-Pak engagement needs strategic depth

    The Financial Express, April 10, 2012

    With Pakistan’s cabinet approving the negative list approach with a commitment to grant the much-hyped most-favoured-nation (MFN) status to India by late 2012, bilateral trade and economic relations are all set to get a boost. With expanding bonhomie, is it not time for both to join up to look at international trade issues with third countries that affect them both, even if at varying intensities? This is important because, after a long era defined by conflicting cohesiveness and cohesive conflicts, both countries are now willing to identify and remove the deterrents to their bilateral relations

  • Why we must normalise Indo-Pak trade

    The Financial Express, February 14, 2012

    The Indian commerce minister’s visit to Pakistan is likely to help develop a sustainable model of bilateral trade. In order to have a comprehensive and deeper engagement, both countries need to focus on several issues besides tariffs that act as impediments to bilateral trade and regional integration. A bilateral cooperation package covering transport and connectivity, harmonising standards in pharma, textile, cement, food products etc, streamlining financial institutions and banking facilities, and working for a common competition regime in South Asia has become a highly desirable goal. We thus need maintain the momentum of optimism of smoother business relations, taking it towards a peak. Here, two vital ideological considerations need continuous attention. One is political willingness, and the other is the effort to eliminate the trust deficit through change of hearts on both sides!

  • A step for Indo-Pak trade normalisation

    The News, Pakistan, February 05, 2012

    The forthcoming visit of Indian Commerce Minister to Pakistan on February 13 is likely to make way for developing a sustainable model of bilateral trade. The Maldives SAARC Summit has already asserted the vitality of bilateral cooperation as a necessity not only for the region, but for all their trading partners as well. The Pakistan’s Cabinet nod for grant of Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India and the Indian Prime Minister’s optimism for gradually moving toward Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) are defining the baselines of trade normalisation. The visits by the two commerce secretaries: Rahul Khullar and Makdhoom Amin Fahim to Pakistan and India have generated an atmosphere of optimism. This has been resonated by not only the business community on both sides but also echoed by policy honchos as more than baby steps. Further, Makhdoom Fahim’s declaration that they now have the mandate from their establishment to move ahead in this direction reflects the hubris

  • Why boost India-Pakistan relations

    The News, Pakistan, October 23, 2011

  • A win-win trade for India & Pakistan

    Financial Express, October 18, 2011

    Both Pakistan and India are members of the World Trade Organisation and also of the South Asia Free Trade Agreement. The WTO agreement requires each member state to grant Most Favoured Nation status to all other members to facilitate smooth trade flows. SAFTA takes up closer economic cooperation among all member states of SAARC. Alas, in the case of Pakistan and India there are several bottlenecks in achieving a harmonious trade relationship in spite of both the agreements. Why should the status remain status quo, when both will gain hugely.

  • Six Decades after Separation

    The News, Pakistan, June 13, 2010

    A lowering of barriers to formal trade will not only result in formalisation of current informal trade but also encourage hitherto unengaged players. The potential benefit from plucking the low hanging fruits of economic and related cooperation between India and Pakistan as well as planned economic coordination is immense. The meeting of minds facilitated by the Aman Ki Aasha initiative promises to generate the necessary goodwill and exchange of ideas that can fast track such economic alliances. The lethargy and animosity of the past six decades calls for sustained efforts by business leaders to continue building bridges of mutual interest and cement budding alliances.

  • Indo-Pak trade: Cutting the Gordian knot

    Economic Times, August 06, 2008

    Pakistani press is crying foul on the new trade policy. The usual refrain is that Indian goods will flood Pakistan. India and Pakistan are natural trading partners. However, the partition resulted in the birth of the two nations, wrangles over territory and inflated egos often characterising young and proud nations have ensured that only a tiny fraction of potential cooperation has been achieved. Yet, recent developments indicate that all is not lost and there might be lasting peace and much more trade between these nations.

  • India & Pakistan: Being economically savvy yields a piece dividend

    Economic Times, July 18, 2008

    In a bid to improve and make relations more cordial through a series of confidence building measures, India and Pakistan agreed to increase the frequency of bus services between the two countries, firm up modalities for intra-Kashmir trade and truck service and implement other measures to give a fillip to cross-border travel.

  • Once opportunities arise

    The Financial Express, October 03, 2007

    At a recent seminar in Kathmandu on trade in South Asia, the issue of regional trade cooperation figured prominently. The meeting resolved to focus on supply-side issues, which include a rationalisation of standards and implementation of an effective competition policy and law.

  • Freedom from past

    The News on Sunday, Pakistan, January 14, 2007

    In this article, Pradeep S Mehta and Abid Suleri moot the idea that Pakistan and India need to go beyond formal exchanges to resolve their differences.

  • For more than mutual assurance

    Financial Express, India, January 12, 2007

    Pakistan and India have just exchanged lists of their nuclear installations, as part of a mutual assurance that these shall not be attacked by either party in the event of any conflict. However, exchanging lists is not sufficient cover for an unwarranted action by either country.

  • Time to accelerate economic ties

    Business Line / The News, Pakistan / World Trade Review, Pakistan / Financial Express, Bangladesh, December 16, 2006

    A recent action by the Pakistani government to increase the positive list of tradeable products from 773 to 1075 under the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) could result in the doubling of formal trade from $1 billion to $2 billion.

  • Developing a closer Indo-Pak economic cooperation

    Financial Express, November 14, 2006

    A recent action by the Government of Pakistan to increase the positive list of tradable products from 773 to 1075 under the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) could result in the doubling of formal trade from US$1.0bn to US$2.0bn.

  • Exorcising the Ghost of 1962

    Outlook Business, June 05, 2006

    India and China adopted similar development strategies prior to adopting a market economy. While China’s first steps were taken in 1970s, India’s piecemeal reforms were launched in early 1980s. Both will gain a lot if they bury the old hatchet.

  • Region wise: Should SAFTA be any different?

    The News on Sunday, May 28, 2006

    Regional trade agreements have historically played a positive role in reducing conflicts and hostilities among their member countries. Should South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) be any different?

  • For peace to reign, prepare for trade

    The Business Recorder, Pakistan, June 25, 2005

    A foundry equipment manufacturer in India procured an order of Rs 7crores for supplies to a new foundry in Pakistan in 2004. The equipment was routed through Dubai with all signs of India removed from the machinery. The Pakistani importer had to pay at least 17 percent more than what he would have paid if he could have imported the equipment directly from India.

  • Why should trade await a final settlement?

    Daily Times, Pakistan, March 27, 2005

    Cricket seems to be a far greater force uniting nations and sentiments than war. If commonality of purpose can exist on the sports field it can also be a part of trade processes. If one can play cricket, one can also undertake trade.

  • Partnering with greater accountability

    The Hindu Business Line, India, April 15, 2005

    Trilateral cooperation can be an effective way of bringing “appropriate intermediate technology” and “appropriate policy” to developing countries.

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