Cricket, Business and 3 Policy Prescriptions to Fix the India - Pakistan Crisis

The India-Pakistan relationship is considered to be one of the fiercest geo-political rivalries in world, and the first word that comes to mind to describe this relation is "conflict." People on either side of the border are hardly optimistic for the development of sustained peace and stronger diplomatic ties. Still, there are some points of compromise which can be exploited to reap a better relationship.

1) Cricket. The baseball-like sport of Cricket is the most followed sport in both nations. The creation of a bilateral series between India and Pakistan every two years or so in each other’s territory will mean the flocking of fans to the event, which in turn will create an environment for direct interactions of people across border. Further, the positive media coverage of the cities where matches will take place will help to display this positive, friendly atmosphere to a larger audience. This will build strong social and cultural ties by removing the false image one neighbor has for the other.

2) Free Trade. Steps have been taken by both sides to create a better trade environment and it is clear that increasing free trade is a win-win situation for both nations. While Pakistan has everything to gain, India will hope to retain its growth trajectory through foreign direct investments and exports. An increase in free trade will not only improve economic ties, but will also ensure deep cultural ties as more and more investors will flow in and out of the neighboring countries. And as they grow their economic partnership the chances of war will be sharply reduced.

3) Diplomacy. Politics play a pivotal role in shaping the India-Pakistan relationship, so it is of utmost importance that both countries play the diplomacy card well. Embassies should take care of cultural or political misconceptions surfacing about their neighbor. Regular visits of heads of state or of external affairs ministries, as well as keynote talks on border and terrorism issues will help to build up confidence and trust.

There is a fourth area too that needs to be subjugated rather than exploited, and that area is terrorism. Terrorism has always obstructed India and Pakistan to reach friendly terms, and therefore warrants special attention from both sides. Pakistan will have to take stronger measures to control terror activities on Indo-Pak border, so they can enjoy free trade with their neighbors. On the other side, India will have to be more enduring and practical rather than drown in public emotions on terror activities, and it should not cut the nexus completely if a terror strike from a Pakistani-based organization does occur.