INDIA-PAKISTAN TO WORK FOR SIMPLIFICATION OF VISA RULES HIGH LEVEL BUSINESS DELEGATION TO VISIT PAKISTAN IN NOVEMBER 2011 ANAND SHARMA ADDRESSES INDIA PAKISTAN BUSINESS CONCLAVE
Date : 29 Sep 2011
Location : New Delhi
Shri Anand Sharma the Union Minister of Commerce, Industry & Textiles and Makhdoom Muhammed Amin Fahim, Commerce Minister of Pakistan addressed the India- Pakistan business conclave, here today. Shri Sharma during his address stated that “Both of us agreed that a meaningful economic engagement necessarily requires greater movement of business people and there is a need for liberalizing business visa regime. We have urged the concerned officials on both sides to expeditiously conclude the liberal business visa regime by November which will rapidly expand the vistas of bilateral commerce.” Shri Sharma informed that, Minister Fahim has recognized that the grant of MFN status to India would be a key step in expanding bilateral trade relations and the Indian business community has been looking forward to implementation of non-discriminatory market access by Pakistan for India. “We hope that the Minister Fahim would carry home the message of goodwill from Indian business community and secure political mandate for greater trade liberalization with India”, he added.
The Minister expressed the need to look afresh and work together to change the paradigm. He said that this visit is a defining moment which will give an opportunity to look at our relationship with freshness and frankness. The Minister said that he was mindful of the fact that the entire world was watching this visit. He stated that we have to learn from our painful history and learn to co-exist in harmony, peace & friendship. In order to raise the ambition of trade, we must create a conducive environment of trust. This will entail frequent high level visits from the sides, regular exchange of business delegations and an agenda of trade liberalization catalyzed by these exchanges. Commerce Minister said that he has accepted the invitation from Pakistan counterpart and will be going to Pakistan with a big business delegation in November 2011.
The Indian Minister recognized the need to build partnerships which are the defining theme of this age. Shri Sharma said that, “South Asia must not remain a prisoner of the past and find its own equilibrium to realize its true potential”. Early next year, Pakistan will be chairing the SAFTA Ministerial meeting and this meeting holds the potential of giving a new direction to SAFTA regional framework. The Indian Minister urged Minister Fahim to lend his leadership to providing new life and energy to the process of SAARC economic integration. Shri Sharma assured that, “India will reciprocate in equal measure. I heard the Commerce Secretary of Pakistan saying yesterday that we should aspire for an economic community which links SAARC with ASEAN. It is indeed a bold vision and we must strive towards achieving this objective. The first step would be to enforce the mutual obligations contracted under SAFTA at the earliest”
Shri Sharma later informed that, “Together, we have set a target of doubling trade to reach US $ 6 billion in three years. This indeed is by no means is an extremely ambitious target given the fact that India’s global trade in goods last year stood at US $ 600 billion”. He pointed out that Trade in petroleum, energy and commodities would be significant steps for building long term stake in each other’s economy. Strengthening the border infrastructure remains a high priority for us and I was happy to be informed that the Integrated Check Post which is being constructed at the Attari-Wagah Border at a cost of Rs. 150 crores will be operational by the end of the current year.