Politics and International Relations
During the summer of 2018, another opportunity to facilitate cross-border relations between India and Pakistan went by unutilised when talks got cancelled. An event that was much talked about in the media, as opposed to routine practices between these two neighbours in the Punjab borderland. Every day people and goods cross the international boundary between India and Pakistan by road and rail via the Attari-Wagah border crossing point. They also regularly find their way across the international boundary in the Punjab borderland. We are only appraised of these everyday practices during events and crises: when people are killed attempting to cross the international boundary; when smugglers are apprehended; when arms or drugs are seized; when a bomb explodes; during military confrontations, etc. Otherwise, these practices go unnoticed by the public, while deeply shaping relations between India and Pakistan: be it in the Punjab borderland, between the provincial and state capitals Lahore and Chandigarh, or the central governments based in New Delhi and Islamabad. In this presentation I will explore the relationship between everyday economic practices in the Punjab borderland and the Composite Dialogue Process and other bilateral initiatives in the economic field launched and supported by the central governments of India and Pakistan. The analysis is based on interviews conducted in Islamabad, Lahore, Amritsar (district), Chandigarh and New Delhi between August 2015 and June 2017.