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Our Correspondent

The Express Tribune

Published Date: Sep 24, 2014

Indo-Pakistan ties: Regional cooperation key to easing bilateral tension says expert

cooperation and infrastructure development are the keys to improving
relations between India and Pakistan, according to an Indian expert.

Dr Rajiv Kumar, a noted economist and a senior fellow at the Centre
for Policy Research, New Delhi, said this while speaking at a seminar on
Pak-India relations at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute on

The economist said both South Asian countries have to come together
for regional development and cooperation in order to succeed.

“Whenever the two countries start working together some evil causes
hindrance. Things will improve if the infrastructure is built to
facilitate connectivity between the states,” said Kumar, who was a
former secretary general of the Federation of Indian Chambers of
Commerce and Industry.

In terms of regional cooperation, Dr Kumar clarified that this time
around India’s government is focused on improving relations with
neighbours and is prepared for regional cooperation.

“We are looking for possible ventures in provinces that share
boundaries with Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan. In Pakistan’s case our
focus would be on creating links between the Indian and Pakistani parts
of Punjab as well as between Karachi and Mumbai.

He also discussed India’s growth strategy and economic prospects in
the coming years under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government and its
implications for the neighbours.

Dr Kumar believed that the Modi government was pro-market and he
[Modi] himself was a pragmatic leader with a balanced market economy
approach and greater focus on public-private partnerships.

He added that the sustaining agriculture and water stability is of
prime importance for the incumbent Indian government which can be used
to build cooperation between the two countries.

“The Indian government holds great expectations from its counterpart in Pakistan”.

He further stated that both the states were in a dire need to strengthen economic, political and social relations.

“The focus must now be on improving people to people, business to
business, government to government, and non-governmental organisation to
non-governmental organisation relations,” he said.

Dr Kumar said that despite promises, Pakistan has not granted India
the status of most-favoured nation. He also underscored the importance
of India and Pakistan engaging in talks regarding Afghanistan.

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