Islamabad: Stronger trade ties with India are "clearly a new track that expands the potential for positive contact", said a Pakistani daily, noting that trade creates a traction all of its own.
There is a sense that "relations with India really are improving, and that the Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) that started their life as paper proposals are gaining substance and reality", said an editorial in the News International Friday.
India has now overturned its ban on foreign investment from Pakistan.
"Laid alongside the relaxation in the Indian visa regime vis-a-vis the people of Pakistan this creates a window of opportunity that can only be to the benefit of both nations," it said.
The daily added that "trade creates a traction all of its own, and once it is institutionalised becomes cemented by person-to-person contact and the trust that is an essential ingredient of any business relationship".
The editorial pointed out that as business contacts develop, so does "a new arm of the peace process - this one driven by private initiative and investment rather than via the traditional diplomatic channels".
The daily shied away from calling it 'trade diplomacy', but stressed that it is "clearly a new track that expands the potential for positive contact".
"Moves such as this have no direct bearing on embedded points of friction such as Kargil and Kashmir, but they can be seen as a way-paving move that allows these intractable problems to be approached more tangentially."
Officially, bilateral trade is valued at $2.7 billion, but the unofficial trading that goes on via third-party countries is said to be worth $10billion or more.
India can now export 6,800 items to Pakistan thanks to the Most Favoured Nation status "we will have accorded India by the end of the year", said the daily.
"As has been observed before, reciprocity is the name of the game. For these moves to bear fruit, and that fruit be harvested as a peace dividend, there must be an equitable share of the benefits and a realisation that we need one another as partners, not adversaries," it added.
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