South Asian regional cooperation: The India-Pakistan imperative

Sahibzada Aftab

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Abstract

A central factor in the lack of South Asian regional cooperation is thevisceral animosity between India and Pakistan. The India-Pakistansecurity dilemma has prevented the region from exploiting a number ofopportunities that regional cooperation could offer, including thebenefits of economic growth, water/energy security and the socialconstruction of intraregional goodwill through cultural interaction.These benefits could be employed by national governments to pursuedevelopment goals.It is incumbent upon India and Pakistan to pave the way for substantiveregional cooperation by taking measures to encourage cross-bordereconomic and social activities. There are a number of challenges in theIndia-Pakistan relationship that hinder regional cooperation. Howevereconomic integration, if decoupled from political disputes, provides amodel through which the two states can develop mutually beneficialrelations.In particular, three specific areas of cooperation between Pakistan andIndia should be pursued: increased levels of trade and the introductionof reforms that facilitate bilateral foreign direct investment; cooperationvis-à-vis water and energy resources; and the reduction of travelrestrictions. These processes would constitute the first steps towardswider regional cooperation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEmerging scholars 2014
EditorsS Ferris, C Luxford, D Nichola
Place of PublicationCanberra, Australia
PublisherAustralian Institute of International Affairs
Pages25-40
Number of pages16
Edition7
ISBN (Print)9780909992996
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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    Aftab, S. (2014). South Asian regional cooperation: The India-Pakistan imperative. In S. Ferris, C. Luxford, & D. Nichola (Eds.), Emerging scholars 2014 (7 ed., pp. 25-40). Australian Institute of International Affairs. http://www.internationalaffairs.org.au/publications/emerging-scholars-series/