Journalist Praveen Swami said on Sunday that he was almost certain that any trade overture on part of Pakistan will be met positively across the frontier in India.
Swami, the national security editor for The Print — an online Indian newspaper made the remarks while speaking to political scientist Ayesha Siddiqa. This, he said, was (largely) Pakistan’s call.
Asked if Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi could offer anything more tangible than very welcome condolences, Swamy said while the PM did have that sway, the ball was in Pakistan’s court.
Siddiqa said lack of direct trade between India and Pakistan only benefited Middle Eastern countries — a reference to third-country trade between the South Asian nuclear-armed arch-rivals. Responding, Swami said any such overture on part of Pakistan will be met positively in India at the policy level. Paucity of trade only hurt the ordinary across both sides of the border.
Trade being held hostage to a (hostile) political relationship was a tragedy, Swamy said. Queried by Siddiqa on what he thought was one step needed to facilitate trade, Swamy called for free trade in essential commodities. Let the businessmen, he said, find a way. All they needed was governmental assurance on politics not getting in the way. This, he said, would raise a sound foundation for further initiatives.
Neighbours Talking, hosted by Siddiqa, is broadcast every Sunday at 7:30pm on Naya Daur. It covers developments in South Asia.