The Indian government is expected to announce a new visa regime for Pakistani businesspersons, allowing for multiple entry visas and – in what would be a revolutionary step – potentially exempting some businessmen altogether from visas, subject to certain conditions.
The Indian interior ministry is examining the proposal.
A committee of experts that includes the Reserve Bank of India and the State Bank of Pakistan – the central banks of both countries – will be constituted to discuss ways to facilitate trade between the two countries.
Currently, companies from both sides of the border have to use banks based in New York to conduct transactions which can result in delays and raises transaction costs.
United Bank Ltd has applied to set up branches in India while the State Bank of India – a government-owned financial conglomerate – has expressed interest in setting up branches in Pakistan. The committee will also discuss means of facilitating investments from Pakistan to India, which are currently banned. Pakistan, however, allows foreign investment from any country, including India.
The proposal to ease the visa regime will be discussed next month when the committee on non-tariff barriers (NTBs) meets. The matter would also be debated during the upcoming meeting of both the commerce ministers of India and Pakistan.
Earlier this month, Indian Commerce Minister Anand Sharma extended a formal invitation to his Pakistani counterpart Makhdoom Amin Fahim, but there has been no official confirmation yet. This will coincide with the meeting of both commerce secretaries – Rahul Khullar and Zafar Mahmood – as well.
Pakistan had earlier stated it would grant Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India by October, as it is required to do under its treaty obligation to the World Trade Organisation.
Pakistani businessmen have a number of complaints about doing business in India. There are often delays in visas, which are frequently rejected without assigning any reason. Indian businessmen have the same kind of problems in Pakistan.
Small and medium enterprises owners are especially harassed because they do not have the wherewithal to bypass police verification, which is mandatory upon arrival in India entailing a tedious process of filling up forms and examination of a number of documents resulting in wastage of time and money.
Pakistani consignments reaching India have to undergo a rigorous process of checking. The samples are taken to the labs in Kolkata all the way from Mumbai which sometimes results in delays lasting months.
Yet trade between the countries is substantial, valued at $1.9 billion in 2011. However, the volume of business that passes through Dubai is estimated to be even higher.
Textiles and agro-based industries’ products are the main items of trade between both the countries. Some of the main items of trade include cement, soda ash, chemicals, cotton, rock salt, tea and jute. In fiscal year 2011 India’s export to Pakistan topped $1.6 billion compared to Pakistan’s export to India at $275 million.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 15th, 2011.
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@Kamran khan: No problem..You can continue to live in 17th century..Your madrassa education is only fit for that..Don't use the Internet "invented" by Americans.
Its about time..
India has constantly been trying to convey to the Pakistani establishment.." TRADE, TRADE,TRADE".. sure this will probably benefit India more( since it has greater exporting prowess), but cheaper goods for Pakistan will obviously benefit the local economy, especially considering the high level of inflation and economic depression prevalent there at the moment.
Trade and commerce will lead to greater people-to-people contact which in due course of time will allow for more growth of trust. Security is obviously a key concern here for both nations.
As for Kashmir, which somehow always manages to find itself in the middle of everything related to Pakistan, that issue will probably be sorted through porous/soft borders eventually. Neither India nor Pakistan is going to let go of what they currently control(or china).
Isolation does not lead to peace. America realised that through China in the 70's and is doing so with Iran at the moment as well. India has no reason to isolate Pakistan, except for the constant security threat she faces.
The common Indian is as curious of Pakistan and vice versa. Hopefully and eventually an easier visa tourist scheme will eventually fall into place for the common citizens as well.
@Indiah: You need to get a life. Go and find out what wjas behind 26/11, there are elements who will keep the hatred alive as long as there is vested interest and that is what we must jointly fight as people. We need to come of our mandir masjid mentality and embrace each other as humans which is what our faiths are based Upon. Life is too short, let's make it useful and create something that our children can enjoy. I would love to welcome you into my home to prove to you that we as people are as loving as any other. Give peace a chance starting from your home. Thanks.
india is trying to engage pakistan economically just like it bound china with $ 60 bln trade ... money speaks - before that no religion, no ideology !! also, india wants the iran-pak gas pipeline to be extended to india ...so in that case, engaging pakistan through economic cooperation is must !!
@Vicram Singh:Yes, Why not ? Let there be no visa for anyone. That day should come soon.
@Kamran aka kammo: Unlike pakis,Indians aka Hindus are not into business of terrorism.;) @Dr Priyanka: Too much to read.
@Indiah: Priyanka will move to Pakistan and You move to China? How about that? A terrorist Hindu in Chinese Jail will look so beautiful. @Arindom: Your 700,000 Army terrorist are in Kashmir already so there is still a deficit towards trade. @My name is Indian: yes, we have many instances whereas many Indians are captured and are on trial in Pakistan for terrorism. Want a List? Be my friend I will provide you the list. Hope the Indian State army Terrorist Col. Prohit wasn't your Uncle who placed bombs in Samjhota express? If you can have such terrorists in your own serving army how many more can be traced elsewhere?
@Truthbetold: Pakistan will change nothing. You change terrorism in Kashmir and all problems will be solved. Don't complain to us.
@Arvind Mehraa: Look at your stupidity which is evident through your rage. What makes you so angry that you seems to lose your senses and yet calling other people stupid. I thin you did not even learned anything from your own story. Do me a favor . GROW UP and don't be an idiot. I know its hard fr you but you can try.
@Thomas: Don;t worry. 100% Pakistanis are also against any relationship with India. So, If you will not stop this trade , believe us We will do it here. We don't need you at all. For what? Remain where you are. We will never try to be friend with you because we know we can never be. So buzz off.
@Vicram Singh: Hahahaha,,,, Sardar Ji? Dimaag Kidhar hai? Blaming congress party to Muslim friendly? What about Golden temple? Yaar bada hi beghairat admi hai tu...
@Indiah: I am a free citizen of free India and as such have every right to say and do what I want. Whether I book a 1 way ticket or whatever is my problem. What is yours you deal with it first. What did independence give you I donot know but our family lost a great deal. And I know outside of India most Indians [99%] don't give a damn about their own countrymen. Instead of helping them when they need help they let them die. I can give you many examples but donot have the time. Would you like that to happen to your sister or mother? In times of need my pakistani colleagues have helped me. The best example is being set by our cricket time now. See what the greedy men are upto? Do you need more examples? Open your eyes and see for yourself. On either side of the border the politcians are enjoying themselves and the ordinary folk are suffering. And it is the politicians who donot want peace. Otherwise what reason can they give to stay in power. They give inflammatory speeches during the day and in the evenings laugh at the ordinary folks as to how they have fooled them. Kindly reflect on this!
@Naeem Siddiqui: India has done okay so far without the most profitable and best ecconomy of the world, Pakistan. Most people in India are aganist any relation business or otherwise between Pakistan and India. India doesn't need Pakistan at all. It is Pakistan that is trying to make friends after 64 years, because it has no other option to help itself.
@KMR Overseas: There is a scene in one of Premchand's short story, where Beer, the protagonist, hailing from a humble background, goes to spend a holiday with his much more prosperous friend, who is a land owning farmer's son. There, spoiled, for being treated at par with his richer friend, he internalises the false pretense, that he is somehow superior to the poor servants who attend to his daily whims. When one of the poor errandboys mistakenly errs in his standards of service, Beer, headstrong and full of entitlement, kicks the poor khansama, roundly abusing him. It only takes one swift rebuke from his rich friend, who because of his noblesse oblige, exercises propriety towards his family's hires. 'What an idiot you are, Beer!'. . My anecdote is purposefully oblique and obtuse. And couched in metaphors from no less than Premchand's. I think you are smart enough to understand, what I am alluding to? Which, if you are not, only proves that such stupid comments were to be expected from you. . You and your ilk, should be roundly trounced and hammered by all Indians and Pakistanis, for your stupid attitude. Its one thing to indulge in repartee, but quite another, to insult and provoke hatred all around. I dare say, you are one grand loser.
@Mirza: Thank you for your danishmandi. There are enough idiots to be reformed. That, perhaps will be the greater challenge, if and when rapprochement is achieved.
I am all for a peaceful and cooperative relations between the two nations. However, how can that be possible when Pakistan has not changed its official policy of using terrorists as tools of foreign policy against India? It has been three years now since the Mumbai attack by Paksitani LeT terrorists who are nurtured by the Pakistani establishment. Nothing concrete has bee done to punish the perpetrators until now. How can India carrry on business as usual?
As for the negative comments from some Pakistani posters, do they realize that Pakistan has a lot more economic benefits to be gained from trade with India than the other way about? India's GDP is growing at the rate of almost one Pakistan's yearly GDP every year? Who is going to be the loser in the absence of mutual trade and investments?
I personally think that Visa restrictions are gonna be good on the long run. Yes it wont solve the Kashmir, Balochistan or terror problem overnight. But the cordial relation between the countries might result is a some solution over a period of time. Having said this, its my personal opinion. Regarding the terrorist coming into India, i think the 26/11 or the recent Mumbai blasts are problems of only Pakistan, wat was our police/Coast Guard doing? There was some negligence on our part and we need to accept it. If we had a good patrolling system, we dont need the help of Pakistan to stop terrorist from attacking us. Its time for us to strengthen ourselves. And Happy Independence day to both Indians and Pakistanis
@Indiah : Please do not pose as a mouth piece for all Indians. There are many on both sides of border who wish to have more freedom to visit the other side and to mingle more with people on other side. Some people are so very insecure and scared that they try to fuel skepticism by warning people of consequences of bringing down the wall. Such people always try to create image of a monster on other side of border. And quite many fools or innocent people who are equally scared and insecure fall for such words and starts a viscous cycle of hatred without right reason or cause. It is just contiguous. Every now and then people pick Kashmir topic, or the water treaty topic or the Mumbai issue as if they have complete idea of what the topic is all about. Please remember all of our information is dramatized version of facts. The real fact is never out. Both sides will try to skirt their evil by giving the reason behind their deeds and the reason will always sound correct and just until you question the details.
@Sandeep: You too book 1way ticket to your favourite destination.Priyanka is joining you.Pakistan needs you;)
Pakistani businessmen are already investing in Bangladesh, Africa, Malaysia and Dubai instead of Pakistan, because our economy is so poor. So now India will join the list of countries Pakistani businessmen are investing in.
Only places like Somalia can be considered worse investment than Pakistan.
This is great news! Indians, please remember that before India opened up relations with China in the late 90s, there was a lot of mistrust of China as well..there still is, but vastly reduced IMO.
Trade, people-to-people contact etc can only help relations.
Also, if this somehow creates jobs in Pakistan then maybe kids there will have an alternative to jihadi-ism. Who will sit and listen to a hate-filled mullah when they have a job to go to and bills to pay?
I personally have a dream of seeing Mohenjo-daro/Harappa and the ruins at Mehrgarh. Hope I can do it someday.
@Just a question?: indian are gr8ful to dzinna thanks to him we are muslim less country
It appears that most of the Pakistanis are in favour of free movement and Indians are not so keen on the point. It looks a bit strange to me as a third person because it was Pakistan who wanted a separate nation than India.
Why can't you just remain as neigbours without going extremes?
Ignoring all the hate mongering above, this is great news for both India and Pakistan. I understand the Indian commenters issues with Pakistani-sponsored terrorism and as a Pakistani, I hate it too. That being said, there are many Pakistanis who would like to do business in India and there is a lot our businesses can benefit from together. Trade is good for everyone.
We Pakistanis need to make a firm commitment to shutting down the terrorists completely though and win the trust of our neighbors.
@Dr Priyanka: Then move to pakistan and enjoy all those things but NO INDIAN would support this crap.
I had forgotten that ET itself has done a piece on this issue.
"While Pakistan imports about 1,000 items from its neighbour to the north, exports to the country stand at a dismal below-50 figure. Furthermore, between December 2006 and August 2010, we imported around $11.1 billion worth of goods from China. The value of our exports to China over the same period was only $0.25 billion."
The report goes onto paint a bleak picture of the FTA. If my earlier comment is approved, I would have provided you info from 3 sources to prove my claim.
Get your head out of the sand atleast now. If Pak-China FTA is good then so is Pak-India FTA.
Did the Mumbai bombers get visas? No... if anyone wants to come into India from Pakistan they can go from so many places as the border is so big. By stopping regualr businessmen from travelling you will not stop the terrorists! Same can be said vice versa, if India wants to send in spies to B'stan it easily can.
A visa regime can be tailored to keep unhealthy elements out and only allow the type of people you want to come to your country. Most countries do that, even the US and Russia allowed people to go over to see each other.
Pakistan should encourage more Indians to come to Pakistan as they know a lot less about us than we know about them.
@Dr Priyanka: Sahiba countless hearts share your dream!................................................................................................................................... To Live! ................ Like a tree alone and free! ............ Like a forest in brotherhood! .......... This longing is ours! ............ Nazim Hikmet
@Mirza First I have to agree with you..I think its good if you leave your sarcastic intellectualisam and post more good comments like that..
@Dr Priyanka Insallah one day and soon too your dream will come true. Bilateral trade will open gate of opportunities for both countries. whats needed now to forget the history of last 1000 years, events of 1947 and so on. If Europe can forget the events of first and second world wars and from ashes EU could emerge as an economic power block then why not sub-continent. we are blessed with natural resources and the best minds in the world. World could be ours if we open our minds and hearts!
“In fiscal year 2011 India’s export to Pakistan topped $1.6 billion compared to Pakistan’s export to India at $275 million.” .....you forget to mention the Great Pakistani Export Item of the Terrorist! This single item will "balance" all trade all by itself!
Visas should be issued to all people why only businessmen ? I hope to see a prosperous Pakistan and Indian women like me would like to visit Pakistan for sightseeing, shopping, eating [of course] ! But alas! a dream is a dream!
@Tilsim: " .... Trade will increase interactions between Indians and Pakistanis and break down the stale barriers in our minds. .... "
The great upheavals and instability in Pakistan has caused a lot of introspection about the utility of the partition. The next introspection that I foresee will be about Islam followed by a yearning for pre-Islamic roots. This may take a decade or so, but is inevitable.
Until then, all barriers must be reinforced and must stay up - as long as it takes.
@matter of fact: Mr. Matter of Fact: lol: If you are so "matter of fact" then why don't you stick to your own websites and forums instead of trolling Pakistani news sites and forums? Do you see gazillions of Pakistani's on your websites?? LOL - I think not. Happy independence day and people like you confirm why we are a separate nation. Take your insidious views up where the sun dont shine eh!
@KMR Overseas: Thanks for the words of "love" and "peace" on your independence day. Thanks indeed. And thanks for showing the Pakistani nation how much you hate us. Extremist Pakistan?? LOL.. Look at yourself in the mirror bud!
@KMR Overseas: Thanks for the words of "love" and "peace" on your independence day. Thanks indeed. And thanks for showing the Pakistani nation how much you hate us. Extremist Pakistan?? LOL.. Look at yourself in the mirror bud!
"some may not even need visas to travel to India" I can't even think of it. It would be nightmare situation for India. Seems that Indian Govt never learn lessons from history. When India was much worse in economic condition, we had no trade with Pakistan, So what ? We traded with other parts of world and devloped a lot. Now why should we need Pakistan? Forget about trade with Pakistan and the benefits out of that, it is more negatives than positives.
Trade will increase interactions between Indians and Pakistanis and break down the stale barriers in our minds. The terrorists will certainly want to sabotage it. Indians and Pakistanis must work jointly to prevent such a sabotage. It's time for a newer, healthier way to live. Let us say No to hatemongers. Time to move on.
The trade imbalance with china are being relieved with billions of $$$ Chinese investment on infrastructure projects in Pakistan that includes Sea Ports, Dams, road, railways and energy. Pakistan was the first country where china established offshore mass scale manufacturing units of home appliances and electronic equipment. All these are creating thousands of jobs for ordinary Pakistanis and tax revenue for government.
Where Indian could compete on all the above economic and trade relationship of Pakistan and China!!!
Yes! India could very well export her Tata Nanos and Marutis and will kill Pakistan's local automobile industries that are generating 300,000 + jobs in Pakistan directly or indirectly.
Spare us pakis... We don't want anything from you and we don;t have anything to offer to you. There MUST NOT be any business across the boarder.Else we'll have to face many more 26/11s.
Time to ease up on negative rhetoric. Time to bring two cultures, people closer together. All hate seekers should be put on a bus and sent swhere they are kept safe from their own destructive thoughts. Let's engage in friendly dialogues.
This is called quoting out of context. I said,"Pakistan more than India will benefit from this trade. It will create a larger percentage of jobs in Pakistan than in India. "
Out of 1.6 Billion people it will create few hundreds of jobs, while in Pakistan, since it has a small population in comparison it will create greater percentage of jobs.
Pakistan has even greater Trade imbalance with China, and the cheaply made Chinese goods have flooded the Pakistani market, sinking many industries, I hear. But, Pakistan hasn't stopped trading with China, has it?
Trade, even there is imbalance, creates jobs. The Country with better infrastructure and a favourable environment always get more out of it. With the case of India- China, it is China who has a favourable tilt in trade. In case of India and Pakistan, it will always be Pakistan.
ET web admin - my previous comment should read:
Stupid Muslim vote bank loving Congress Party. What next ? Visa less travel for all ?
Improving trade infrastructure and policies on both sidses is an idea I can agree with. India's formal trade with Bangladesh is $4.5 billion even though Bangladesh economy is almost half of Pakistan's.Improved trade would be beneficial to both countries.
Having said that, I cannot support the idea of bypassing police verification for visas. On the one hand our brave soldiers try to protect India from the LeT jehadis crossing the border and now if visas are granted without any checks, these jehadis could simply enter without any verification. That is unacceptable. This is not to say that legitimate people should be denied visa and held up by bureaucracy - however due diligence cannot be bypassed. Associated costs are NOT a 'waster of money' because the lives lost in terrorist attacks cannot have a price tag on them.
@Ranjit - That is as much failure on part of Indian administration to protect it' country from perpetrators. Why do blame common citizens for this. Note that the exclusive nature of our policies will only increase the prevailing mistrust and hate.
@Ranjit: It is not fair dear.Hafiz saeed is not whole pakistan.Pakistani people want healthy and much friendly relations with india,and off course trade also which will benefit both countries a lot.we should move ahead
"Pakistan more than India will benefit from this trade" Ok let me try to understand your logic here! Pakistan's export to India is $275 million and India’s export to Pakistan is $1.6 billions. so as per your logic having a trade balance in favour of India around $1.3 billions is actually benefitting Pakistan!!!
What jobs you are referring that would be created for Pakistanis in Pakistan after this much talked India Pakistan trade!! is Mittal Ambani gonna setup steel mills in Pakistan or TATA is gonna have next automobile assembling plant in Pakistan!!!.
BruteForce! Sometimes you become too brute with commonsense :)
You are right; more radicalized people will come to India in the garb of businessmen. You can expect Mumbai-type of attacks more in the future. India has always been a soft state and will remain forever vulnerable to attacks from such people.
Why can't we just maintain the status quo? What have we got to lose if the trade is not normalised with Pakistan? It is a win-win situation for Pakistan and a disaster for India.
Stupid Muslim loving Congress Party. What next ? Visa less travel for all ?
From BJP to Congress and From ABV to MMS every party and successive governments in India always start with threats, burbling and big mouthing about Pakistan and end-up on negotiation, trade and CBMs!!!
What could a ‘patriot’ Indian like you do Ranjit!!!, it seems all Indian governments since last 15 years are ‘Stupid’ as per your criteria. Believe me I am not mocking the ‘patriot’ Indian like you! I am just trying to share your grief.
@Mirza : Hey dude, we need to start ignoring such people, they thrive on attention. By the way Happy Independence to you and I wish our Independence had not created this rigid wall between our hearts. Someday we shall overcome this wall of hatred and prejudices and walk together on path of progress and better standards for our people as dreamed by our founding fore fathers. Lets Celebrate this freedom sometimes together. Happy Independence Day to All my Pakistani and Indian people. Thrive and Prosper!
i think so its american plan to grab pakistani economy, since musharaf time we are importing a lot of things from india including vegetables, like onions, potatoes, tomatoo and garam masla jat.
we shouldnt escalate this bcoz hindu banya will never accept Pakistan thats why in last 65 years he has blocked our main rivers and trying to make pakistan a desert, but Insha Allah they will never succeed.
so dont trust and live without their trade and business we have a lot of opportunities in muslim and other world except india. and i think PPP govt forget Kashmiris blood too.
I welcome open trade and travel not just between our countries but across Asia. I dream of a day when we will have Asiarail passes to travel all over our continent the way we can in Europe (that day is far away right now because of the violent ideologies and religious supremacism that holds sway in our neighboring country but it will come).
So while I welcome such opening up, I hope the Indian govt will keep in mind that terrorists could use such loosened visa regimes to cause mayhem in our country. So let's only let genuine businessmen without ISI, Army or Islamic organization ties to avail of such facilities – only normal people please, not nuts who'll be out to convert or kill us in India just because we refuse to believe in their ridiculous book or their imaginary Friend in the Sky.
Wait for a flood of suit-wearing "Non-State Actors" seeking business visas to enter India. More than 100 Pakistanis from the Mohali Test nearly 10 years back never returned back to Pakistan. Indians have no right to complain if this leads to another major incident.
Indians will never learn; Hafiz Saeed will help Indian Mujahideen trigger another bomb blast in Mumbai and will be showered with rose petals in Lahore. And stupid Indian govt will keep laying out red carpet for terrorists from Pakistan
Pakistan more than India will benefit from this trade. It will create a larger percentage of jobs in Pakistan than in India.
You might toe the line of your military and blame India for its failures in Balochistan. And, tell you that Kashmir is burning, in spite of having almost zero incidences in the past year and a 80% participation in the Panchayat elections(that doesn't sound like a region burning, does it?). But, one thing is for sure, India will continue to march on, because being a Democracy it cannot run away from the truth and has to embrace it.
Pakistan has to embrace this truth and stop blaming India for all its troubles. Maybe it will register an equal growth rate as India someday.
mirza,i am agree with you.do not pay much attention and get distracted by that guy comment..
Whats the point of fake friendship. Let india show its honest intent by not interfering and causing mahem in Balochistan and also treating people of Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir with humanity. Let this be the first step . . . the rest will follow naturally, otherwise there can be no trust. Trust is earned and cannot be equated with money benefiting the self interest of a few. First and foremost, the unfinished business of clearing Pakistan's backyard from the Indian baggage is of utmost important than money and trade!
@KMR Overseas: Please, must you start the hate discussion even on our/your independence day? This is good news for peace and you are starting it with the negative comment? Please stop this madness, thanks for not reacting to my brotherly advice! Regards, Mirza
This has to happen, however the sooner the better. It is a shame that the trade between the two countries is via Dubai and Singapore, rather than direct. It takes a long time and becomes expensive to say the least. Both countries need to start the process of openness and confidence building, trade and cultural exchanges to bring people close. I can bet most people who oppose India have never visited India and same is true from the other side. We speak the same language and are more similar than different. Wouldn't it be honest and fair to speak about Pakistan or India after seeing it with own eyes? Taking a trip just across the border via bus/train is the cheapest vacation one can have from both sides of the border. Not only that there would be no problem with the language, culture or food!
"In fiscal year 2011 India’s export to Pakistan topped $1.6 billion compared to Pakistan’s export to India at $275 million."Make sure Pakistan pays the difference. Pakistan may escape paying by saying payment linked to Kashmir issue (or any falthu reasons). Can't trust Pakistani!!!