Raghavan says economically strong Pakistan would bring regional stability
India is not worried over the $46 billion economic corridor between Pakistan and China as an economically strong Pakistan would bring regional stability, India’s envoy TC Raghavan said on Wednesday, underlining the need to remove misperception and restore mutual trust between the two nations.
Addressing a meeting of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KPCCI), Raghavan said India also has no problem over the growing relations between Pakistan-Iran-China and Afghanistan. “There is a need to remove misperception between Pakistan and India for the restoration of mutual trust,” he said.
This is the first visit by any Indian high commissioner to KPCCI during last nine years after Shivshankar Menon visited the KPCCI twice in 2006.
“India has no worry over the construction of Pakistan-China Economic Corridor as an economically strong Pakistan would bring stability in the region,” he said.
He acknowledged that Pakistan has very good relations with China, however, he said India-China relations are stable too. Emphasising on increasing volume of bilateral trade between India and Pakistan, he said the goal can be achieved “if we treat each other as a normal trade partner.” “India and Pakistan should behave like normal trading partners. Peace and security in Pakistan is important for economic growth of both Pakistan as well as India alike.
“Fears that enhanced trade with India would result in Indian goods flooding Pakistani market, rendering local traders out of business, is misplaced,” he said.
He said trade between India and China was equal as was between India and Pakistan in the year 2000, ranging between $100 million.
However now, he said, after passage of 14 years, the trade volume between India and China has jumped to $65 to 70 billion while trade between India and Pakistan is around $2.5 to 2.9 billion.
He said boost in trade between India and China is a good example as how barriers were removed and both the countries focused on trade and commercial activities in the larger interest of their people.
Raghavan was of the opinion that bilateral trade between two countries could not flourish “if we go into minute observation of trade imbalance” as it is a common factor and do happen which should be ignored.
“Our efforts are also focussed on implementing the road map agreed upon by the two countries in September 2012 for bilateral trade promotion. In this regard, the grant of MFN status by Pakistan to India is awaited,” he said.