India-Pakistan: Is Trade Key to Everything?
March 27, 2013
The author of this Issue Perspective, Stephen Engelken who served as Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy to Pakistan from 2010-2011, explores the assertion that India and Pakistan must expand their bilateral trade significantly if South Asia is to remain peaceful over the coming 20 years.
Progress between the two South Asian neighbors on political and security issues will likely continue to be painfully slow. Nevertheless, as India’s Ambassador to the U.S., Nirupama Rao, put it at a CSIS event earlier this month, “We have put in place a process of dialogue between India and Pakistan and a significant part of that process does focus on how we may build better trade ties between the two countries, and there has been considerable movement on that front over the last 18 months.”
Additional steps are in the pipeline that would help encourage bilateral trade India and Pakistan; however they will face challenges in the years ahead. “Looking forward,” Mr. Engelken affirms in this Issue Perspective, “the most important thing both governments must do is to keep reassuring their businessmen that they have the political wind at their back when they consider doing business in the other country.”