FAISALABAD – High Commissioner of India Dr TCA Raghavan has said that terrorism has hampered the regional progress and “we strongly condemn recent act of terrorism in Karachi that is a major setback to the regional peace and stability.”
Addressing the business community at the Faisalabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FCCI) here on Monday, he said that the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi was committed to promote regional cooperation particularly trade with Pakistan by extending more facilities in addition to simplifying the issuance of business visas and removing business-related irritants on top priority basis.
“I am visiting Faisalabad after 10 years and this city has made tremendous progress during this period and I must congratulate you all people for this achievement,” he said. “I was in India when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had a meeting with the Indian prime minister,” he said. “I was extremely happy to see them at one platform,” he said.
The Indian diplomat said that the last year trade increased from $2.5 to $3.0 billion. “We are specially endeavouring to increase trade between Pakistan and India. We have already simplified the procedure,” he said, and quoted business visa liberalization policy. He said that more facilities would also be extended for multiple entry visa and multiple city visa.
Dr Raghavan said that the new land routes would also be opened to increase trade in addition to increasing trading hours at Wagha-Atari border. “We are also considering a proposal to facilitate business people to meet each other on these points frequently and freely.” He said that a workshop on visa-related issues would be arranged in Faisalabad after Ramzan.
“We have also signed three agreements on custom cooperation, mutual recognition of standards and addressing trade grievances,” he said. Regarding customs-related issues, he asked the FCCI members to give him details of irritants as a custom coordination meeting was expected to be held during the next week in Lahore. He assured that a representative of the Indian High Commission will also participate in the said meeting to resolve the customs related issues.
Earlier in his welcome address, FCCI President Engr Suhail Bin Rashid said that during the year 2013, total export to India was $379.16 million whereas total imports from India stood at $2.18 billion. With little exception, the trade trend is continuously in favour of India. Despite various agreements and healthy developments, the volume of informal trade is still by far larger than formal trade going through third country, smuggling and personal baggage stood at approx.