12th round of Indo-Pak Chaophraya Dialogue held in Bangkok

Key opinion makers from India and Pakistan, including parliamentarians, former diplomats, military officers, mediapersons and policy experts met in Bangkok for the 12th round of the Chaophraya Dialogue from 17 – 18 July 2013, organized by the Jinnah Institute (JI) and the Australia India Institute (AII).

Chaophraya 2013 DelegatesThe Chaophraya Dialogue, a major Indo-Pak Track-II initiative encourages informed discussion of bilateral relations and enhances stakes in peace. The dialogue also gives an opportunity to opinion makers from India and Pakistan to interact with each other on a sustained basis.

In the latest round of dialogue, the participants spoke on a range of broad themes pertaining to regional issues, including the state of bilateral relations, Afghanistan, military to military cooperation, the evolving public discourse in both countries, security and trade, amongst others. At the culmination of the two day event, the participants released a joint resolution outlining their vision for future directions in the Indo-Pak peace process.

The resolution spoke of the broad consensus in both countries towards peace, and urged that the two countries use this momentum to enrich their diplomatic contacts, as well as their trade links. They recommended greater relaxations in the visa process, and that selected students and journalists be provided further exemptions so that they can work towards improving relations and perceptions in their respective countries. The participants called for meetings between the two militaries and bureaucracies as well, and to use such processes to deliver a summit between the two Prime Ministers. There were also calls for greater transparency in discussing nuclear arms, and for both countries to commit to ensuring stability in Afghanistan

The resolution further noted that given that the completion of the electoral process in Pakistan has been marked by the commitment of the leadership of both countries to reinvigorating bilateral relations and building a climate of mutual trust and cooperation. The electoral process in Pakistan was marked by a wide consensus to improve relations with neighbouring India. The Prime Minister of India, Dr Manmohan Singh, congratulated Mr. Nawaz Sharif on his electoral victory, and a Special Envoy, Satinder Lambah, was sent to felicitate him even before he assumed office. Mr. Nawaz Sharif, in turn, sent a Special Envoy, Mr. Shahryar Khan, to reiterate his commitment to building a constructive and cooperative relationship with India.

The participants at the recent moot supported an early resumption of a fruitful dialogue process. In addition, the unprecedented interest in both countries and within the governments to expand economic cooperation in trade, investment, energy and other related areas was also welcomed.

In the current round, participants from Pakistan included Amb. (r) Sherry Rehman, Amb. (r) Aziz Ahmad Khan, Mr. Raza Rumi, Mr. Naveed Qamar, Mr. Shafqat Mahmood, Lt. Gen (r) Tariq Ghazi, Lt. Gen Athar Abbas, Dr. Saba Gul Khattak, Mr. Ali Dayan Hasan, Mr. Moeed Yusuf among others. The Indian side comprised Prof. Amitabh Mattoo, Mr. Baijayant Jay Panda, Amb. (r) Vivek Katju, Amb. (r) G. Parthasarathy, Lt. Gen. (r) Arvinder Lamba, AM (r) Vinod Patney, Dr. Manoj Joshi, Suhasini Haider, Mohan Guruswamy, Prof. Ajay Darshan Behera, Dr. Happymon Jacob, Mr. Prashant Jha, Dr. Sushil Aaron, Dr. Mallika Joseph and others.

Since its inception, the Chaophraya Dialogue is credited with providing much- needed space for a non-official dialogue when the official dialogue process between India and Pakistan had frozen, following the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai. The Dialogue also encourages the participants to share workable recommendations to their respective governments.

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