The paper analyzes the prospects of economic cooperation between Pakistan and Afghanistan, which have so far failed to establish normal trade relations with each other. The main argument of the paper is that Islamabad?s insecurities vis-à-vis New Delhi have overshadowed the prospects of economic cooperation and good neighborly relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Pakistan?s “long-term obsession with the quest for strategic depth? against India” compelled the former to increase its influence in Afghanistan by installing a friendly government there with the twin objectives of securing its western borders in order to liquefy nationalist-separatist sentiments in the Pakhtun belt, as well as to counter the growing role and influence of India in Afghanistan. This quest of Pakistan has had negative impact not only on the inter-state relations between the two proximate western neighboring countries, but also on their economic cooperation. Although there are several
opportunities available in the form of strengthening South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) by applying regional approach; promoting regional energy projects; and enhancing bilateral trade and transit facilities in the region; the future of Pakistan-Afghanistan economic cooperation depends upon India-Pakistan normalization of relations.
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Copyright (c) 2012 Prof. Dr. Naeem Ahmed