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The News

Published Date: Jul 5, 2014

India, Pakistan ‘could be important players in New Silk Road’

Singh Maini, political analyst from New Delhi, India, has said that
India and Pakistan could be important players in the New Silk Road if
relations between the two countries are improved.

was giving a lecture on ‘Evolving political economy of India-Pakistan
relations,’ organised here by Sustainable Development Policy Institute.

said that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is keen to
improve bilateral relations with Saarc countries. He said that a will
exists at political level but there are still some bottlenecks to be
overpowered by building mutual confidence between the two countries for
which three steps are required to be taken by New Delhi and Islamabad
which are improving visa regime, opening up more transit routes and
facilitating divided families for reunion.

He stressed the
need for greater land connectivity between the two countries. Maini
said that logistical issues, especially the visa regime and poor
communication linkages, act as barriers restricting trade opportunities
between the two countries. He called the both governments to address
these issues. He admitted that issues like visa regime are vexed but
opined that there needs to be greater liberalisation in a phased manner.
In pursuing these targets, he warned to first learn to walk before
starting to run.

He said that people of both the countries
need to know each other for which people-to-people contact is vital. He
gave credit to Chambers of Industry on both sides for whatever improved
economic relations that worked to forge strong linkages. He emphasised
considering recommendations of CC&I which provide sufficient ground
for relaxing visa regime.

While there have been
significant advances in the last decade, with trade and commerce via the
Wagha-Attari border witnessing a significant increase, he opined that
there is a need to open more land crossings at Rajasthan-Sindh and
Gujarat-Sindh border. With the current Indian government’s emphasis on
economic and greater integration within the region, he hoped that
bilateral trade will witness an increase.