India, Pakistan exchange visas for officials
NEW DELHI: With the continuing improvement in bilateral ties, India and Pakistan exchanged visas for their officials here on Monday, 19 from India and 17 from Pakistan, to strengthen their respective missions.
The officials from Islamabad and New Delhi are going as replacements for their respective missions, maintaining existing numbers at 47. Lists of these officials were coordinated and passports were handed over at both ends, sources at the Ministry of the External Affairs said.
India had decided to trim its staff strength of 110 at the Indian High Commission in Islamabad by 50 percent in the wake of an attack on its parliament in December 2001, which dropped to 47.
With the peace initiative taken by the leadership of the two countries, both sides have appointed high commissioners. The Delhi-Lahore bus service has been resumed besides the visits of parliamentary and trade delegations, providing an impetus to personal contact.
Meetings to discuss the resumption of air services are scheduled to be held in Islamabad by the end of this month. Pakistan has also proposed a meeting between the railway authorities for the resumption of rail links, which India is considering. —APP