Curry Diplomacy

For now, Pakistanis can serve up their curry with Indian ingredients

Rising prices of food and other household commodities has been a problem in Pakistan for some time now. And even military dictatorships cannot afford to disregard this problem. So, based on the recommendations of a task force set up to find out the reasons behind the ‘irrational increase’ in the prices of household ingredients, the Pakistani government has lifted import duties on meat, livestock, onions, garlic and tomatoes. What’s more, for the first time, it has allowed importers to truck the stuff in from India.

That is a very good decision. What is good for ingredients of curry is just as good for the rest of the economy as well: bilateral trade must not be held hostage to Pakistan’s Kashmir dogma. People-to-people contacts, that oft-repeated mantra of Indian foreign policy, is nothing more than a warm fuzzy feeling if it does not imply ringing cash registers on either side of the border.

It would be wishful thinking, but one is tempted to believe that a certain Mr Noor Mohammed of New Delhi, India, is as much responsible for this path-breaking decision on economic policy as as the Pakistani government’s task force.

3 thoughts on “Curry Diplomacy”

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  2. The Noor Mohammed angle does look tempting enough!

    While trade will lead the two nations further away from war, it is not a guarantee against war. When WW-II broke out, France and Germany were each others’ leading trading partners. A strong democracy and influential middle class are also vital.

    Trade is actual detrimental to the freer society in such a bargain. For example, while Pak can carry on with the proxy war India’s business houses will prevent the Government from conventional retaliation. Talking of conventional wars, even nuclear armageddon may not prevent a megalomaniac dictator from starting one. A democracy with powerful private business will almost never start one if the cash registers could be affected adversely.

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