December 6, 2011 admin


LUDHIANA, DECEMBER 6:“In view of similar cultures, history and landscape, India and Pakistan should collaborate as much as they can” emphasized Dr Baldev Singh Dhillon, Vice-Chancellor, Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) here today while expressing his views on the topic “Most Favoured Nation (MFN): Status, Issues and Challenges.” A close and detailed interaction took place amidst the experts of both the countries at the interactive meet organized by the Society for Advancement of Sports and Cultural Activities (SASCA) in collaboration with the Alumni Association of the College of Agriculture, PAU.
Highlighting that India and Pakistan are great producers of basmati and cotton, Dr Dhillon said that there can be a scope of trade in terms of these two crops alongwith maize. “When European Union, having different cultures and languages, can come together, then why not India and Pakistan. Mental barriers need to be done away with and through working together in research and other areas we can make this happen,” remarked Dr Dhillon. He added that the establishment of regional research centre on the border can benefit both the countries.
Stating that agriculture in Pakistan is at disadvantage; Dr Iqrar Ahmed Khan, Vice- Chancellor, UAF, said that there are many handicaps in farming sector. Urea and other fertilizers are costly in Pakistan.  Whereas in India, farmers are looked upon very well, added Dr Khan. The Indian seed companies are well-established and there are big consumer markets in India.  It also has an edge over the technology for efficient water management.  If India and Pakistan join hands for trade corridor and gas pipeline, none can beat it, said Dr Khan.
Dr S.S. Johl, an eminent farm economist and former Chairman of Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) underlined the need for thrust on serving of economic and consumer interests in the two countries. He laid emphasis on anti-dumping process, removal of negative list of export items, increase in export price than domestic price, timely export of commodities, e-checking of trucks for perishables, etc. Dr Johl laid stress on the export of goods by India to Pakistan in which it is short of.  Disclosing that one-third people of India has the purchasing power as compared to Europe, he added that the opening of direct investment was considered.
Dr Sucha Singh Gill, Director General of Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development, Chandigarh, said, “Era has come when two countries should unite for dynamic working in Central Asia. Peace, prosperity and security hold great importance for the region.” He further added that MFN is about belief and action. Pakistan and India are signatories of World Trade Organisation (WTO) where dumping is prohibited.  So, there should be no fear of dumping. Dr Gill emphasized the need for proper infrastructure at Attari-Wagah International Border, visa liberalization, development of tele-communication and joint cooperation between India and Pakistan companies. Revealing that 52% income from India is from the service sector, he said that service is important and there should be grid connectivity between the two nations. Lahore, Islamabad and Karachi need to be made Information Technology (IT) hubs and trade of gas and oil also demands the attention of the experts. 
The Pakistan delegates Dr M.J. Arif, Prof. & Principal Officer, Agriculture Entomology, UAF, Dr M. Ahmad, Managing Director, Agriculture Technology Society, Lahore, Dr K. Mustafa, Director, Business Management Sciences, UAF and Dr F.M.A. Chaudhary, Prof. and Director General, also shared their views. They divulged that agricultural implements are successful in India but costly in Pakistan. There can be a bilateral cooperation in regard to trade of farm machinery and equipments. Besides trade, there is a need to focus on other sections such as education, agriculture, etc., added the delegation, while saying that findings can benefit both the countries. They said that focus should also be on confidence building, joint research collaborations, organisation of workshops and seminars, check on non-tariff measures and trade mechanism.
The Member of PAU Board of Management, Mr Jang Bahadur Singh Sangha said that potato is a good trade option. Seeds of the potato can be supplied to Pakistan Punjab, told he, while adding that proper mechanism needs to be created and potential should be there on the side of Pakistan. The focus should also be spreading general awareness about better seed production. He said that there can be great scope of germplasm exchange in agriculture and dairy.
Dr B.S. Ahloowalia, ex-member, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said that establishment of peace city on the border could pave way for cultural exchange and confidence building. World Bank and World Peace organizations can help in the development of infrastructure.
Dr Karam Singh, Consultant, Punjab State Farmers’ Commission and Mr S.C. Ralhan, President, Engineering Export Promotion Council, stressed the need for cutting short the cost of the trade. Very few commodities are allowed for export, said they while suggesting increase in number of commodities for the same. “We need your products and Pakistan needs our products. So, it can be a win-a-win situation for both the sides,” added they.
Drs Joginder Singh and A.S. Joshi, former Heads, Department of Economics and Sociology, PAU, and Mr D.L. Sharma, Managing Director, Vardhman Group of Industries, said that being the main producers of Basmati and cotton, the two nations can share democracy in this regard. They added that India has developed knowledgeable resources and the need is to integrate the same for future development.

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