NEW DELHI (TIP): Railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal on March 14 said the best way forward to normalize ties between India and Pakistan would be “normalization of trade flows” between the two neighbours. “Bilateral trade relations are now at a point where significant economic gains could serve as powerful means for conflict resolution,” he said, favouring rail-based container movement between two countries to cut transaction cost and ease road traffic. “Trade facilitation measure such as development of integrated check posts will give a boost to bilateral trade between India and Pakistan through land route. One other step to give further fillip to bilateral trade could be introduction of containerization,” the minister said at a conference.
Bansal said railways had an important role to play to boost trade between the both countries. “Railbased movement of containers across the boundary will not only ease road traffic, but also help trade in offering door-to-door service to its customers, which would also help in cutting down the transaction cost,” he stressed. At present there are two points where rail link is established – Attari and Munnabao. “There is potential of starting the containerization movement. We can negotiate to take forward the containerization,” he said, adding that two countries can work together to develop technology solutions in railway sector for common needs.
With a view to address the need and aspirations of people of both the countries, Railways of the two countries have taken a lead with introduction of Samjhauta Express running via Attari-Wagah border in Punjab and Thar Express running via Munabao-Khokrapar border in Rajasthan.
Successful running of these two services symbolizes the resolve of the people of both the countries to cut across the barriers of a political boundary.