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.

The 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.

Besides Parliamentarians, 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.

The 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.