LAHORE: Sharat Sabharwal, the Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan, has expressed hope that an agreement for liberalising business visa regime between India and Pakistan will be signed during a meeting of senior officials of two countries in coming weeks.
Addressing the inaugural session of the '2nd Indo-Pak Economic Conference' held here under the Aman Ki Asha banner, Sabharwal paid tributes to the Jang Group, the Times of India Group, the Pakistan Business Council and the Confederation of Indian Industry for their initiative in organizing the conference.
He said that the conference would enable businessmen of both the countries to discuss modalities of further expansion of trade and economic relations. He hoped that deliberations would provide meaningful input for the governments of the two countries.
Recalling his visits to various chambers of commerce in Pakistan in 2009 and 2010, he said that Pakistani business community has called for removing 'non-tariff barriers' for Pakistani exports. He stated that there was a keen desire on both sides to intensify trade and economic links, adding there is a need to bridge information gap between the business communities as well as to address each others' concerns.
While appreciating the government of Pakistan for according MFN status to India and its desire to move away from negative list by year-end, he said that these steps would pave the way for preferential trade between two countries under the South Asian Free Trade Area Agreement (SAFTA). He recalled decisions of the meeting between commerce ministers in Islamabad in February and said that after the notification of the negative list by Pakistan, discussions would be launched on reducing the size of sensitive lists under the SAFTA and drawing up a programme for phased tariff liberalization. He claimed that India had agreed to consider tariff liberalization for up to 30 percent of the sensitive list.
Sabharwal said that India wanted to carry on with the process of trade liberalisation in a manner so as to create a win-win situation for both countries. He stated Indian supported approval of the European Union trade concession package for Pakistan by the WTO General Council in February this year and ready to reduce size of sensitive lists under SAFTA.
He said that meetings of the interior ministers resulted in finalizing the draft of a revised visa agreement containing liberal provisions for business visas. He expressed hope that this agreement would be signed in coming weeks.
While giving reference to path-breaking ceremony at the Attari-Wagah border on April 13th, he expressed hope that Pakistan would remove restrictions currently in force on imports through the Attari-Wagah land route.
He said that decisions like opening of Munabao-Khokharapar route for trade would contribute significantly to the economy of the region besides giving freight advantage to both the countries. He said that India and Pakistan should target $12 billion trade within the next five years.
The Indian high commissioner said that India wanted to build a relationship of friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation with Pakistan. He said that in doing so they would be guided by the vision of Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh for transforming South Asia.
He said that they were convinced that growing trade and economic linkages between the two countries besides contributing to economic progress and well-being of people on both sides would also enhance mutual trust and further enlarge constituencies for peace in India and Pakistan.
Tuesday, May 08, 2012
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The News on Sunday Special Report: India Pakistan prisoners more editions
We probably didn't need to do this Special Report. Newspaper stories don't matter when it comes to Indians in Pakistani jails and vice versa. In fact, 'vice versa' sums it up. We do to them what they do to us.
Except when the two countries decide to begin talking, yet again! This time a little before the foreign secretary level talks, some Pakistani prisoners were released by India (and vice versa must have happened) and some more were release....read more
For the past 2 years the Jang Group and Geo have been working on a project of great national interest; one that we hope will help usher in an era of peace and prosperity in the country and indeed, in the region. And one that hopefully all Pakistanis can be proud of. more
The Jang Group has entered into an agreement with the Times of India Group, the largest media group of India, to campaign for peace betw