These are the days of bonhomie between India and Pakistan. The prime ministers of the two countries have just met in the Maldives and one cannot miss the “good chemistry” between the two of them.
One way to test how real this new friendship is to see what happens in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc). The regional group has not realized its economic and political potential as the shadow of Indo-Pak ties has marred the working of the group.
While individually, India and Pakistan enjoy cordial relations with other Saarc countries, at a multilateral level, matters are pretty much in a stasis. A regional free trade arrangement that will benefit all countries in the region is yet to deliver meaningful gains. If peace is not a distant dream, then the first step India and Pakistan should take is to strengthen economic ties between Saarc nations.