Opening more trade routes can help boost bilateral ties: Indian HC

ISLAMABAD: Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Dr TCA Raghavan said on Monday that opening more trade routes between Pakistan and India would help boost trade ties between the two countries.

Speaking to businessmen here at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) he said that trade has the potential to transform political differences to good relations between the two countries.

He was of the view that all neighboring countries in the world have political differences but these differences should not have impact on its trade relations. Dr Raghavan said that the current volume of trade between Pakistan and India is US 3 billion but more potential exists to enhance the bilateral trade volume.

He said although trade balance was still in favour of India but Pakistan s exports to India have improved significantly during last few years.

He said there is a greater realization in India and Pakistan that increased bilateral trade will act as force multiplier and help reducing poverty in both therefore the two countries need to accelerate efforts for further promoting two way trade.

He also urged to promote positive things from both sides like emerging good relations in showbiz and fashion industry. The diplomat also appreciated Pakistani Plays saying that Indian people are very much fan of these Plays and its actors and actresses.

He also stressed on the importance of tourism sector saying that tourism promotion is the quickest way of employment generation and India has signed a protocol of tourism with Pakistan to promote bilateral tourism and efforts were afoot to address issues including NTBs between the two countries.

He said Indian High Commission has planned to hold regular video conferences and smaller networking sessions with Pakistan Chambers and assured to play a facilitative role in grant of visas to Pakistani businessmen.

Speaking on the occasion S.M.Munir Chief Executive Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) said that TDAP s recent Pakistan Lifestyle Expo in India achieved good success and thanked Indian authorities for their support for said Expo.

He said being close neighbor Pakistan and India have great potential to promote bilateral trade and both countries should open more trade routes for realizing the available potential. He urged for allowing mobile roaming service and establishing bank branches in both countries.

He said both governments should adopt open visa policy and India should grant business visa for all cities instead of giving just 10 cities. He also urged both countries to open up formal banking channels to ease the business transactions. In his welcome address Shaban Khalid President ICCI said that bilateral trade of around USD 3 billion was much below the true potential of Pakistan and India.

He said more trade was taking place via third channel and stressed that Pakistan and India should facilitate direct trade to achieve win win results. He said both countries should establish direct air links and open more road links to improve bilateral trade & people to people contacts.

Shaban Khalid said Pakistan and India were suffering from common issues including poverty and added that promoting trade was the best avenue to reduce poverty. He said common man should be the priority focus of our policies and emphasized that both countries should undo police reporting policy for visitors which was proving a serious inconvenience.

He said both sides need to improve trade infrastructure to bring it at par with international standards and address all NTBs to facilitate business.