The Times of India
If there was a theme that dominated the first day of the Indo-Pak business conference, was the four-letter word: visa. Speakers from both sides of the border were at pain to point out that MFN, FDI would remain useless acronyms unless businesspersons from either side could meet each other easily.
Speaker after speaker quoted ‘shayari’ to buttress the fact that India and Pakistan need to trade more with each other. Pakistan PM Gilani quoted a couplet he had penned in college in Lahore. Adi Godrej quoted Alexander Pope and Sunil Munjal, his uncle. Einstein and Edmund Burke found mention too.
Missing ‘K’ Word
Conspicuously absent at the most high-profile meeting of businesspeople from India Pakistan ever, was the ‘K’ word. Nobody uttered it. The businesspersons naturally didn’t say it. But neither did the high profile politicos and bureaucrats present. It does look as though Indo-Pak relationship will finally enter two-track mode with the economic track running independently of the political one.
What is the potential size of the Indo-Pak trade in the near term? Depends on your optimism and how you can spin the numbers. Speakers came up with figures ranging from $5-billion to $10-billion , $12 billion to the massively optimistic $15-billion . For the record, the current figure stands at $2.7-billion .