Nawaz Sharif is using every opportunity to draw the Indian leadership to talks, the latest being the phone call to his Indian counterpart to offer condolences over deaths in India on account of last week’s earthquake. The two countries cannot make social and economic progress if they continue to be in a state of perpetual cold war which frequently turns into bloody border incidents. The common Pakistani realises that unless there is peace under-development and poverty cannot be eradicated and the two countries cannot achieve their full economic potential. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor envisages opening of new trade routes between Central Asia and South Asia. To reap full benefits from the project a resolution of disputes with India is needed.
India-Pakistan disputes need out-of-the-box solutions. True, that both stand by their position on Kashmir. True, that both accuse each other of encouraging terrorists inside their territories. A continuous litany of accusations by both sides would not lead anywhere. One of the ways to resolve the chronic issues is to first create an environment conducive for dialogue. Much needs to be done by both India and Pakistan to gain each other’s confidence. An enhancement of trade and more people to people contacts can help achieve the goal.
Pakistan is in the process of improvement of relations with Afghanistan. Last month Kabul told the trade delegation from Pakistan, led by the minister of commerce, that it would like India also to join Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA). In an interview with the Hindu, President Ashraf Ghani underlined the need for a legal free-flow of goods and people in the region with Afghan trucks crossing Wagah into India. “If we are not given equal transit access, then we will not provide equal transit access to Central Asia”, he is reported to have told the interviewer. There is all the more reason for India and Pakistan to stop exchange of accusations and sit down for talks