Trade relations can bridge India-Pakistan gap, says a leading daily

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A leading newspaper here Sunday praised the growing India-Pakistan trade relations, saying it will help promote better ties and resolve disputes between the two countries.

The Dawn noted in an editorial that New Delhi and Islamabad “seem to have resumed their journey towards the normalization of bilateral trade, though the movement remains slow.

“Several developments taking place across the border indicate that we may yet see substantive progress on this front in the near future,” it said.

Both India and Pakistan have reportedly agreed to allow three banks from each side to set up operations on each other’s soil to facilitate the flow of goods across their borders.

The agreement to develop banking relations was reached in August 2012 but could not be implemented until recently.

The stalled commerce secretary-level talks have also been resumed after a gap of 16 months to sort out problems impeding the normalization of trade.

The Dawn said Pakistan was considering increasing the number of items that can be sent to or brought from India through the border at Wagah and Attari in Punjab.

India’s high commissioner in Islamabad, it said, had hinted at easing the restrictive visa regime, a major non-tariff barrier facing businessmen.

“More importantly, Islamabad is working on a proposal to give ‘non-discriminatory access’ to India as an alternative to the controversial MFN (Most Favoured Nation) status.”

It said all these had revived hopes that the road map agreed upon in September 2012 before the resumption of military clashes along the Line of Control in 2013 disrupted the process will be implemented.

“Islamabad has also given assurances to the IMF (International Monetary Fund) of dismantling hurdles in the way of the free flow of goods and services across the border.

“But before that happens, both countries will have to decide that they will not let any unfortunate event like the Mumbai terrorist attacks and LoC clashes reverse the progress they have made.

“Politicians from both sides must understand that economic interdependence always helps nations resolve their political, territorial and other disputes.” IANS