ISLAMABAD: A delegation of Indian political and social activists have emphasised the need to promote peace and development through public diplomacy, dialogue and mutual understanding.
“We require confidence building measures and a flexible visa policy to remove the confusion between both countries,” senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader and Delhi Study Group president Vijay Jolly said while addressing the press at the National Press Club on Sunday.
Mr Jolly was accompanied by BJP leader Vijay Mehta and former journalist Lubna Asif. He encouraged free trade and the need for economic liberalisation between India and Pakistan.
“Free trade and border openness not only provide trade opportunities between the business communities of both countries but also create competition in the market for low prices. Both countries have historical relations and similarities in culture,” he said.
“Our delegation has enjoyed hospitality and love from the people. There is a need to enhance economic and trade cooperation between both nations to eradicate poverty and elevate the lifestyle of the people of both countries. We need to eradicate terrorism and extremism for peaceful co-existence,” he added.
Mr Jolly said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi had condemned terrorism and terrorist activities in Pakistan, and a resolution against the Peshawar school attack was approved by the Indian parliament.
Mr Mehta emphasised people-to-people contact and trade openness as a way to build relations between the two countries. He said free trade between India and Pakistan would maintain costs of production and allow various trade items to be sold at lower prices in the market.
“We need to enhance regional trade and connectivity for development and prosperity in the region, and excel the lifestyle of common people of the region. Trade openness and trade liberalisation strengthen economic ties between regional countries as like European Union countries remove their old disputes,” he said.
Delhi Study Group joint secretary Ms Asif called for greater cooperation and contact between media groups from both countries.
She said journalists can play a vital role in removing confusion between the nations, and provide a platform through which to enhance dialogue.
Pakistan Union of Journalists president Afzal Butt said media from both nations should play a vital role in decreasing tensions and eradicating poverty on either side of the border.
He said both countries needed to maintain mutual relations on an equal basis, and extended designs and struggles for dominance from either side could destroy peace in the region.
NPC president Shakeel Anjum said Pakistanis had reservations regarding the security of the Pakistan cricket team and said proper security must be provided to avoid any future mishaps.
A Princeton PhD, was a US diplomat for over 20 years, mostly in Eastern Europe, and was promoted to the Senior Foreign Service in 1997. For the Open World Leadership Center, he speaks with
its delegates from Europe/Eurasia on the topic, "E Pluribus Unum? What Keeps the United States United." Affiliated with Georgetown University for over ten years, he shares ideas with students about public diplomacy.
The papers of his deceased father -- poet and diplomat John L. Brown -- are stored at Georgetown University Special Collections at the Lauinger Library. They are manuscript materials valuable to scholars interested in post-WWII U.S.-European cultural relations.
This blog is dedicated to him, Dr. John L. Brown, a remarkable linguist/humanist who wrote in the Foreign Service Journal (1964) -- years before "soft power" was ever coined -- that "The CAO [Cultural Affairs Officer] soon comes to realize that his job is really a form of love-making and that making love is never really successful unless both partners are participating."