India considering liberal visa policy for Pakistan

High commissioner says Delhi wants to resolve all disputes through dialogue.

Junaid Aftab November 22, 2011

SIALKOT: Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Sharad Sabharwal has said India has a clear-cut visa policy for citizens of Pakistan, but a more liberal policy is under consideration.

“Recommendations of the Sialkot Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) will be given special consideration for visas to businessmen,” he said while speaking to businessmen at SCCI on Tuesday.

Sabharwal said India wanted to resolve all issues with Pakistan peacefully through dialogue and efforts to promote bilateral trade were part of this agenda.

He said India was a fast-growing economy not only in South Asia but also in the world and productive and friendly commercial and diplomatic relations with the international community, particularly with neighbours, was the key feature of the foreign policy.

He said promotion of trade with neighbouring countries in order to reduce poverty and bring prosperity in South Asia was an important part of the vision of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Welcoming Commerce Minister Amin Fahim’s recent visit to India, the high commissioner said it benefited bilateral trade relations and would help expand trade up to $6 billion, adding such positive steps must remain continue as they would lead both sides to a non-discriminatory trade regime and would make South Asia a free trade area.

In the past, he said, trade was limited between the two countries, but after improved bilateral ties and infrastructure development along the border new trade targets could be achieved easily.

Sabharwal pointed out that Pakistan’s business community, including Sialkot, preferred trade with western countries and invited them to assess the eastern market worth $1.4 trillion, which was waiting to be explored.

Highlighting the facilitation measures, he said Delhi gave Pakistan $25 million for flood relief while talks were under way to export 500 megawatts of electricity to help Pakistan mitigate energy shortage.

Earlier, SCCI President Naeem Anwar Qureshi briefed the high commissioner about the Sialkot-based industries.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 23rd, 2011.

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