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Mention some of the recent agreements between India and Pakistan. Can we be sure that the two countries are well on their way to a friendly relationship?

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Solution

The relations between India and Pakistan have always been the centre point of discussion, with the latter primarily being the geographically closest neighbour but psychologically the most distant and important neighbour of the former. Although both the countries have entered into a number of bilateral agreements since independence, such as the Tashkent agreement and Shimla agreement, to maintain relations on an even keel, some recent agreements between the two have added a new chapter in the Indo-Pak relations:
a. One of the important agreements was the ‘No War’ pact that was signed in 1981 between the two nations whereby both India and Pakistan assured each other of not attacking each other.
b. In 1999, both the countries signed a formal agreement on Delhi-Lahore bus service to establish greater people-to-people contact.
c. In 2001, the famous Agra Summit brought into force the famous hand shake diplomacy between General Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, although nothing concrete could be achieved.
d. In 2005–2006, both the countries agreed to start a bus service from Srinagar to Muzaffarabad and also agreed to build confidence-building measures to strengthen relations.
e. In 2005, India and Pakistan also signed two separate agreements on missile tests, whereby both countries agreed to give advance notice of ballistic missile tests to each other. This was an attempt to reduce tensions and bring about arms control between the two nuclear neighbours.
f. Both countries have also offered humanitarian assistance in the wake of natural calamities. We may cite the example of how Pakistan offered relief material during the 2001 Gujarat earthquake and a similar act was reciprocated by India during Pakistan’s earthquake in 2005.
g. In 2011, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh spoke of opening a new chapter in Indo-Pak relations.
h. In 2012, a number of agreements were entered into. Both the countries signed a liberalised visa agreement to bring about simpler travel for people across the border.
i. The countries also entered into trade agreements to eliminate trade barriers. They also agreed to explore the possibility of opening the Munabao-Khokhrapar land route for trade and to complete the process of including India in Pakistan’s most favoured nation’s list.
j. In 2012, to strengthen confidence-building measures, both India and Pakistan agreed that their Land, Naval and Air Forces will avoid holding major military manoeuvres and exercises in close proximity to each other in order to prevent any misreading.
k. Recently, Prime Minster Narendra Modi invited Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for the former’s swearing-in ceremony, followed by constructive talks between the two. Issues related to boosting trade between both the nations were discussed. The bilateral trade between the countries stood at US$ 2.6 billion in 2012–2013.
l. The meeting has been considered constructive and historic in advancing relations of the two historically and culturally bound nations.

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