Goodwill gestures

Published at November 02, 2017 02:57 AM 0Comment(s)1140views


Goodwill gestures

Pakistan as a goodwill gesture released 68 Indian fishermen held for violating its territorial waters. A report published in a Pakistan daily yesterday revealed that the Indian government informed Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi that 13 Pakistani prisoners will be repatriated on November 2. Release of 13 Pakistani prisoners after the latest peace overture of freeing 68 Indian fishermen is a good example of reciprocity that is in alignment with the mission of peace. Such goodwill gestures can ease the tension and build-up along the LoC and International Border, much like the LoC trade. But for that the governments have to not only sustain them but enhance them to usher an era of prosperity in the region. It is not the economic viability that seems to be the issue with cross LoC trade but political objectives. And it does not fit the claims of governments on either side who promise the mandate of great economic gains. One such measure taken by New Delhi to bring in economic gains is the cross LoC (Line of Control) trade between Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-administered Kashmir (PaK) which has remained suspended since July 11. The loss in the same period has been computed as exceeding Rs 81 crore. That is more than three months-long embargo imposed on the trade. Although authorities in Jammu and Kashmir have flagged the concern and sought a meeting with the officials of PaK, it is becoming difficult to break the ice with the deteriorated situation prevailing along the LoC and International Border. The trade was said to have been suspended after heavy exchange of fire between Indian and Pakistan forces damaged structures on either side. The loss of Rs 81 crore in the mentioned period may not be significant, but it certainly has damaged the peace overtures that governments in India and Pakistan had promised to reciprocate in the past. From border firing to diplomacy, India and Pakistan have diverged from the peace mission, which is manifesting in different forms like in this case in severing the trade ties that could have benefitted the people living on either side of the control line. It is difficult to calculate the real loss though as many people lose their livelihood when hostility in the vulnerable areas escalates and it forces people to shift to safer areas. This is not the first time that the peace overtures in the form of cross LoC trade has been snubbed by suspending the trade. But the trade is taking too long to resume and there seems to be lack of interest so far as governments’ responses are concerned.

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