Experts and traders here on Friday emphasised the need to exploit the land route between India and Pakistan for trade, saying that it was financially more viable than the sea route.
They were speaking at the two day international workshop on ‘Understanding non-tariff trade barriers between India and Pakistan’, being organised by the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID).
In his welcome address, Dr Sucha Singh Gill, CRIDD director general, stressed on the need for developing good road infrastructure between the two countries so that trade could be carried on through the land route which, he said, would be economically viable for both developing economies of Asia.
He said both India and Pakistan had categorised certain commodities and merchandise in the negative or sensitive list which could not be traded between the two countries.
Member of Parliament and noted journalist HK Dua, in his keynote address, said that even after 67 years of Partition and Independence, he failed to understand why the two neighbouring countries failed to remove mental barriers. He said India and Pakistan could come together for many joint ventures, including development and rebuilding of Afghanistan, once the US forces left at the end of this year.
Prof SS Johl, chancellor, Central University of Punjab, Bathinda, said inadequate efforts had been
made in the past between the two countries for confidence-building measures.
“It appears as if there is a mutual agreement to torture each other on various issues. It is time to remove the mental barriers which create hurdles in trade,” he added. Other prominent speakers included executive vice-chairman, CRIDD, Rashpal Malhotra; and senior vice-chairman, governing body, CRIDD, Prof RP Bambah.
Delegates from Pakistan Prof Hafeez-ur-Rehman, head of the economics department of Punjab University, Lahore; Shehrjar Khan, Nabila Asghar and Mohammad Azmat Hayat were present on the occasion. They would address the workshop on Saturday.