Sunday Levity: Will economics bring about peace in South Asia?

A India-Pakistan student seminar throws up an answer

Soli Sorabjee relates his observations at a recent debate between Indian and Pakistani students in New Delhi

The Indo-Pak student seminar Manzar, organised by Miranda House this week at the IIC, was an enjoyable event. Three students each from the Indian and Pakistani side debated the motion—‘When economies move closer, countries will follow’. The Indian team supported the motion, the Pakistani team opposed it.

The Indian team argued that since the major economy of both countries is based on agriculture, efforts should be made to bridge the gap between farmers on both sides of the LoC. People-to-people contact will improve and this will lead to better political relationships. The Pakistani team maintained that trade could improve only with change in political relationships. Other sectors such as the tertiary sector would also have to be taken into consideration and what was needed was a change in the political culture. Marks had to be awarded to each team taking into account the criteria of Matter, Manner and Method. Selection of the successful team was a tough job for the judges because both teams had made excellent presentations.

The Pakistani team scored by a narrow margin [IE]