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Dream of regional integration

Dream of regional integration


Pakistan bashing has been the core policy of the Indian establishment and a permanent feature of its foreign policy for the last 70 years. The reaction is equally proportional to this policy and the life goes on as usual. The first casualty of the conflict is the regional integration. When the whole world is coming close for the sake of peace and economic development, the two countries joined by culture, history and geography are distant apart are living miles away from each other in political isolation. It is not the failure of the two peoples, but the failure of the leadership of the two countries. Two nations are the most technologically developed among their peers in the region, but every effort to bring them together ends in smoke. The cost of the failure of the leadership is the economic development as the two countries have failed to reap the benefits of anything they own from natural resources to technological advancement. All their policies revolve around defense and that also hostile to each other.

At least 500 million people live below the poverty line in India, more than the entire population of Africa and 70 percent of Indians have no access to toilet. Instead of investing on the human development, the two countries are spending billions of dollars annually on defense at the cost of business and economy as well as welfare of their peoples. Kashmir is not a big issue if the leadership of the two countries have will to resolve it. The close trade relations are in the best interest of the two countries. India is a big country and it will have to show a big heart in reconciliation efforts and it will have to move from its declared position. Pakistan will also have to extend concessions for the sake of peace and stability as well as economic development in the region. Two countries can be big trade partners and by softening its stand, India can get excess to the central Asian region. At the moment, India is geographically cut off from the rest of the western hemisphere because Pakistan is a buffer state, stopping its business to westward countries.

The world media is praising India’s development in business and trade, but it is just an eyewash and the country has to go a long way to enlist itself in the developed nations. A soft corner in India’s policy and concessions from Pakistan can work and both the countries not only can benefit from each other’s experience in science and technology, but can also enhance their mutual trade up to billions of dollars. But India will have to shun its policy of Pakistan bashing once for all.