Islamabad: If Iran and Afghanistan’s ties with the US can improve, “why not the relations between India and Pakistan”, asked Indian High Commissioner T C A Raghavan today as he pitched for greater bilateral trade.
India wants better ties with Pakistan and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has already expressed his desire to strengthen relations with India, he said.
“If Iran and Afghanistan’s relations with the US can improve, why not the relations between India and Pakistan, the two most important countries of South East Asia?” Raghavan told business leaders at the Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Punjab province yesterday.
Indian diplomatic sources told PTI that a workshop is likely to be organised in Islamabad this month to which Pakistani chambers of commerce will be called to brainstorm on making trade between the two countries simpler and deeper.
“We are still working out the modalities for it,” a source said.
Raghavan’s comments come in the backdrop of a meeting between Pakistan’s Minister of State for Commerce with top Indian leaders in New Delhi on the sidelines of a SAARC summit.
Minister of State for Commerce Khurram Dastgir Khan has said that Islamabad is committed to normalising bilateral trade relations and is working on Non Discriminatory Access (NDA) rather than Most Favoured Nation, which “essentially means the same without any other connotation”.
He said the biggest hurdle to normal trade relations is the “very restrictive visa regime”. Snehesh Alex Philip