ISLAMABAD - Key opinion makers from India and Pakistan, including parliamentarians, former diplomats, former military officers, media persons and policy experts were of unanimous view to take additional confidence-building measures including establishing a hotline between the premiers of both the countries to minimize the trust deficit and to avoid misunderstandings in future.
These issues were discussed at a moot organised by the Chaopyraya Dialouge from 21 to 22 June jointly organised by the Jinnah Institute (JI) and the Australia India Institute (AII) at Chiang Mai.
The participants suggested the meeting between the army chiefs of both the countries besides enhanced interaction between the DG Military Operations to talk out irritants.
The Chaophraya Dialogue is the longest consistently running Indo-Pak Track-II jointly administered by the JI and AII to encourage informed policy dialogue on Indo-Pak relations. The process is now in its sixth year and has so far led to 14 rounds of dialogue.
The 14th round of the dialogue focused on the significance of a new government in New Delhi and the opportunities it creates for Indo-Pak relations, particularly in trade and economic integration.
They expressed the hope that the two foreign secretaries would meet expeditiously and would be able to produce a credible roadmap so that when the two Prime Ministers meet next, the dialogue process can resume in earnest.
They urged that measures agreed to during past dialogue processes be revived and steps be taken to implement them in letter and spirit.
As part of the revitalization of bilateral relations, they urged the two governments to liberalize the visa regime for students, academics and journalists, in particular for correspondents to be stationed in each other’s capitals.
They expressed satisfaction at the two PMs’ recent interaction in New Delhi and noted their resolve to carry forward the process of trade normalization. They hoped that the Commerce Ministers would use the opportunity provided by the meeting of SAFTA Ministerial Council in Thimpu on July 2014, to arrive at an early conclusion of discussions on the subject.
They urged the international community to fulfill all pledges made in Chicago and Tokyo and, where possible, to augment resources committed to ease Afghanistan’s economic transition.
They reiterated the recommendation that India and Pakistan should explore the possibility of joint projects identified by Afghan authorities, in IT, training and education, telecommunications, healthcare, agriculture, and consider the setting up of a collaborative fund for this purpose.