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Pakistan, India agrees to allow greater trade through land route

NEW DELHI: To reinforce the bilateral ties and trade, Pakistan and India agreed on Saturday to carry non-stop trading activity through Wagah-Attari border, signaling a thaw in relations after a year's standoff over military tensions on the border, ARY News has learnt.

The decision was taken during the meeting of Trade ministers, Khurram Dastgir Khan of Pakistan and Anand Sharma of India held in New Delhi on Saturday.

They also approved a liberalized visa policy for businessmen to help expand two-way trade, which was barely $2.5 billion in 2012/13 fiscal year against a potential $10 billion.

Both sides hope closer integration of Pakistan with India's giant economy would help lay the ground for a lowering of political tensions between them.

The border gates at the moment are open only from dawn to dusk.

Pakistan also agreed to provide non-discriminatory market access to Indian companies. Over the last year there was little movement on trade because of a series of incidents over military control of the line dividing Kashmir between the two countries.

Two years ago, the two countries set a goal of taking bilateral trade to $6 billion by 2014, which now seems difficult to attain.

Pakistan's Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan said the country's central bank had proposed its Indian counterpart grant banking licences to three Pakistani banks, a move which would be reciprocated by his side.

"In the banking sector we are hoping to have some progress, very rapid progress," he said.

Both Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan's Nawaz Sharif who took power last year are keen to rebuild ties.

Source: Reuters.





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