Poverty reduction has been the corner stone of bringing in normalcy in relations between India and Pakistan. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the first to advocate the theory few years back. The concept was floated at Dubai where India and Pakistan lawmakers and experts called for discussing poverty reduction and accelerating economic growth as part of better governance. Modi at that time had told Pakistan to concentrate on the major issue of poverty reduction to speedup economic growth rather than exporting terror. His comments came after attack on an army base in Kashmir’s Uri town in September 2017. Even though being held in a third country the meet was a welcome step seeing the chill in relations of the two neighbours. While the dialogue saw overall consensus on both global and South Asian success with some reduction in poverty numbers despite complexity of measuring poverty and disagreements on successful strategies, participants believed that continuing arms expenditure by both countries will be detrimental to the welfare spending. Dialogue process recognised as a major step in normalising the relations. Comprehensive poverty alleviation strategies must also focus on reducing inequality within society in both countries. There needs to be an increased focus on expenditures by governments in housing, public health, public education and in other social sectors rather excluding poor from the planning canvas. The two sides agreed that microfinance and availability of easy and cheap credit can go a long way in providing capital to poor and deprived sections of society for small business enterprises. At that time food security was a critical challenge for Pakistan and India and there was emphasis that both countries must focus on revamping agricultural growth policies that are farmer-friendly and incentivise them as key stakeholders. Tensions have been running high between India and Pakistan at the LoC after the cross border terror attack on an army base in Kashmir’s Uri town.
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© 2017 State Times Daily Newspaper