Kerry makes pitch for enhanced India-Pakistan economic ties

Kerry makes pitch for enhanced India-Pakistan economic ties

Making a forceful pitch for India and Pakistan to boost economic ties, visiting US Secretary of State John Kerry said here Sunday that it could be the harbinger of a "new era of ties" between the neighbours and help "bring in a level of trust".

Giving a talk on US-India Strategic Partnership at the India Habitat Centre, Kerry said in today's age of enhanced connectivity there could be a "beginning of new era of new India-Pakistan relations that could be based on mutually beneficial trade, and hopefully bring a level of trust".

Kerry, who arrived earlier in the day on a three-day visit, said he welcomed an increase of "21 percent" in India-Pakistan trade.

He said he welcomes the normalisation of trade ties between India and Pakistan as well as the "ongoing discussion on energy, trade, air travel between New Delhi and Islamabad and the prospect of more commerce passing through Wagah. All these steps point to the right direction".

He said if India and Pakistan can "confidently invest in each other, then the rest of the world will more confidently invest in you".

Acknowledging the tensions between the two countries, Kerry said he realised "there is a lot of history and I am not naïve about some of the difficulties, but after talking to the leaders I feel a new dynamics is beginning to emerge".

He said new Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has said that his country’s chief goal is economic revival and “that is a goal that India and the US share”.

“In the age of globalisation and expanded connectivity... India and Pakistan can gain substantially from breaking down old barriers and changing history.”

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