The running theme of the 21st century is that of economic partnerships, from the European Union to ASEAN, with the aim of fostering and maintaining economic prosperity and social progress.
And arch rivals India and Pakistan might also discover the economic and political dividend of cooperation if they are sincere in liberalising bilateral trade.
As a Pakistani commerce minister visited India for the first time in 35 years, big words are flowing from both sides about agreements reached in easing trade restrictions and their sincerity in pushing up by several notches a fragile peace process that was shattered following the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
Initiatives like the present trade agreements which include opening a new customs post and easing visa rules are termed confidence building measures (CBMs), whose larger purpose is to gradually normalise ties.
And officials say they are more sincere than ever in fostering cooperation.
“You would appreciate the difference in approach this time. Both sides are committed that they would make this dialogue process irreversible,” Pakistani Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim said.