The good relations between India and Pakistan
are dictated by both geography and economics. Therefore, we have much to benefit
by directing our efforts to accelerating the process of reconciliation between
our two countries in the interest of the socio-economic and political development
of the South Asia region, which largely hinges on India-Pakistan relations.
Further, at a time when a new spirit of reconciliation has
gripped India and Pakistan recently, the importance of keeping alive and widening
people to people track of engagement against all odds, is vital. The two governments
facilitation of the process suggests that they too recognize its value., The India-Pakistan
Forum of Parliamentarians (IPFP) has been formed to achieve this objective. In
this regard, the Forum, would seek to realize a comprehensive mechanism of mutual
exchange and engagement, and will work towards sensitizing and creating favourable
public opinion to ensure peaceful relations between the two south Asian neighbours.
Forum with a broad based agenda in areas as diverse as, trade & investments,
terrorism, security & non-proliferation, culture, science & technology,
IT, etc, will provide a valuable platform to initiate substantive dialogue process
between the lawmakers of the two countries with the objective to understand each
other's approach and viewpoints on crucial issues to facilitate the ongoing confidence
building measures. There are a number of avenues where cooperation would be appreciated
and such cooperation would generate tremendous amount of goodwill among the people
of the two countries. High-priority issues such as cross-border terrorism, prospects
of better bilateral trade, relaxation of respective visa regimes, nuclear confidence-building
measures, and greater civil society interaction would be discussed and debated
upon by the parliamentarians of the two nations.
the Forum would also encourage regular interactions between non state actors,
especially the private sector, civil society groups and professional organizations,
business communities, research and policy institutions to explore alternative
policy options through Track-II diplomacy to widen the horizons of mutual understanding.
Forum, chaired by noted Gandhian and senior parliamentarian Ms. Nirmala Deshpande,
and co-chaired by Anand Sharma and Shahid Siddiqui, both senior Parliamentarians,
belonging to the Indian National Congress and Samajwadi party respectively, will
enable parliamentarians of the two neighbours to engage in candid exchange of
views and come up with practical suggestions on contentious issues, which would
benefit the two nations.
The IPFP, has been formed in collaboration
with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), India's
apex business chamber, founded by Mahatma Gandhi in 1927. FICCI already runs six
successful Parliamentarians' forums with the US, Britain, Germany, the European
Union, Japan and Singapore. The IPFP is another enterprising endeavour by the
Chamber to encourage a process of parliamentary dialogue through free flow of
ides and thoughts towards promoting a more durable framework of peace.