Monday, November 24, 2008

India and Pakistan To Form An Economic Union

I would love to see that as a headline someday ...

I wonder if this is a pre-condition laid by IMF. In any case, this is the best piece of news to come out of Pakistan since ages. (I think the last good news was Abdus Salam winning the Nobel prize - ok I am being a little over the top here!)

According to the Financial Times, "Pakistan is prepared to withdraw its first-strike nuclear threat and push to create an economic union with India in an effort to bring peace to south Asia."
I am aware that a SAEZ - a South Asia Economic Zone - on the lines of EU will take time. Years of distrust needs to be overcome. And then one needs political will on either side. But then we have in the past seen economic realities overcome political stances very rapidly. Remember, USSR, Perestroika, Gorbachev, ...?

Actually, I hope the countries of South Asia grab this opportunity. The bargaining power of an economic zone comprising of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Srilanka, Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives will be tremendous. Perhaps, Iran would like to join. And someday Afghanistan.

The end of the present economic crisis could see a rearrangement of financial clout. US may not remain the financial superpower. Already the EU has powered its way to the top. But even they face economic recession. Japan is also in recession. The south Asian countries seem to be unaffected (to an extent). If we can create a large market of consumers, we could see prosperity coming our way.

Pipe dream?

At least we can try!

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