Toufiq A. Siddiqi: India-Pakistan Détente: Sustainable Development for South Asia and Beyond

Date: 09-06-2004

An India-Pakistan Détente: What It Could Mean for Sustainable Development in South Asia and Beyond, by Toufiq A. Siddiqi.
AsiaPacific Issues, No. 75. 8 pp. See

HONOLULU (Sept. 6) -- Peace between India and Pakistan could bring a broad range of benefits not only to the two countries but to the wider region, an East-West Center researcher writes in a new publication. Benefits include cooperation on energy imports and building an Asian highway network.

Toufiq A. Siddiqi, an adjunct senior research fellow at the East-West Center and president of the Hawaii-based Global Environment and Energy in the 21st Century, says a lasting détente between India and Pakistan could benefit economic development, political relationships, resource management and trade patterns beyond South Asia to Central and Southeast Asia as well.

Siddiqi focuses on interlinked sectors of energy, transportation and environment. For example, cooperation between India and Pakistan on importing energy via a natural-gas pipeline would support environmentally sound development. The improved road and rail system that would necessarily accompany a pipeline would support the goal of building an Asian highway network and the resurgence of cross-border trade.

Lasting peace could also result in a substantial reduction in military spending, estimated to be about $10 billion and $3 billion for India and Pakistan respectively. "This 'peace dividend' could be used to build the natural gas pipeline, rail and road links, and infrastructure to handle increased regional trade," Siddiqi writes. "The benefits would go not only to India and Pakistan but also to neighboring countries and to the global community as a whole."

Siddiqi calls upon the United States, China, the European Union, Middle East countries, the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, and other countries and organizations to continue to support the development of peace between the two countries.

Toufiq A. Siddiqi can be reached at (808) 944-7456 or

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