Almost every country around the world has close relations, especially close economic relations with its immediate neighbor. Pakistan is the anomaly as our leaders have consistently refused for over seven decades to have normal trade relations with India.
Even China that has a conflict-ridden relationship with India, and fought a war with India, has a strong trade relationship with India. Pakistan, however, refuses to do the same.
If we opened trade ties with India, we would be able to improve our economic situation. Revitalisation of trade with India is a prerequisite to Pakistan’s long-term economic stability.
Unfortunately, as an editorial in Dawn noted, “Pakistan seems to have shut itself off to importing both good ideas or cheap goods from its eastern neighbour. Urging the government to reconsider, many have reasoned that when other countries with historical rivalries do not refuse to engage economically with each other, why should Pakistan and India? It is difficult to disagree.”
It is time, Dawn urged that “our foreign policy pundits and decision-makers to reconsider their stance and decouple trade from geopolitical disputes. From food to pharmaceuticals, Pakistan can import much from India and at far cheaper rates than from anywhere else in the world. Yet, we refuse to do so. With inflation crushing our citizens, the question ‘why’ must be revisited.”
As an editorial in Dawn noted, “Trade and geopolitics should be treated as independent components of international policy. Politicking on the matter is selfish and does no service to our people. Both our state and our politicians need to agree on this.”