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Pakistan, India agree over greater trade through land route

Updated Jan 18, 2014 07:45pm


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The South Asian neighbours agreed to allow round-the-clock movement of trucks and containers through Wagah-Attari border. – File Photo
The South Asian neighbours agreed to allow round-the-clock movement of trucks and containers through Wagah-Attari border. – File Photo

KARACHI: In a bid to strengthen bilateral relations, Pakistan and India Saturday decided to allow greater trade through land route, signalling a thaw in relations after a year’s standoff over military tensions on the border.

They agreed to allow round-the-clock movement of trucks and containers through Wagah-Attari border, the main border crossing between the two South Asian neighbours.

Trade ministers of the two countries meeting in New Delhi also approved a liberalised visa policy for businessmen to help expand two-way trade, which was barely $2.5 billion in 2012/13fiscal 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.

“We have agreed that we will open Wagah-Attari border 24/7for trade,” Anand Sharma, India's trade minister told reporters.

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.

Pakistan's economy grew at 3.6 per cent in 2012/13 and the government was forced to borrow $6.7 billion from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to avert a default of payments.

Sharma said he will lead a business delegation to Pakistan next month.


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Comments (17) Closed

ahmedj Jan 18, 2014 07:58pm

This remind me of liberal visa agreement a year ago between the two countries but not so long, it was revoked. Is this another similar agreement for mutual development of both countries or the neighbour is looking further beyond Pakistan into Afghanistan.

Time will tell how long this agreement lasts. .

Agha Ata Jan 18, 2014 08:04pm

If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got! The question is for how long?

Shah Jan 18, 2014 08:11pm

So we are awarding building of dams and diversion of our water with opening our border? Pakistani system of misgovernment is up for some serious questining!

saeed Jan 18, 2014 11:28pm

why the are reluctant to open khokhrapar monabao border for trade?? why all trade need to be done throu wagah and passengers only khokhrapar??

Jalaluddin S. Hussain Jan 18, 2014 11:47pm

I feel so positive! Congratulations to both Prime Ministers on the resumption of trade and commerce between both the countries.

AbbasToronto Jan 19, 2014 12:37am

Trade improves utility of both parties unconditionally.

Khan Jan 19, 2014 12:48am

Good move the question I have is why the khokhrapar-Mona boa border crossing in Sindh is not allowed to be used for cross border movement? Why the indian Consulate in Karachi is not being allowed to get opened by Pakistani government. Are people in Lahore more Patriotic than people in Sindh?

Ragu Jan 19, 2014 01:14am

Nations that have fought and killed each other in millions have found a way to live in peace; for the sake of future generations of Pakistan and India, can the leaders of these two nations not live in peace at least for a few decades? Wars have not solved a single problem as of yet; these wars have only made the western nations richer as they sell weapons of death to both India and Pakistan.

Rakesh Jan 19, 2014 01:41pm

Wise decision. Looping through 'Dubai' was an unnecessary & additional cost which can be get rid off. Long live sub-continent....

Ratnam Jan 19, 2014 04:31pm

This is welcome news. They should also widen the check-post and introduce multiple lanes (each with immigration/customs stations) for faster movement of trucks. They should make the post functional and useful, allowing greater movement of goods and people. Currently it functions more like a ceremonial border post with no emphasis on functionality.

And perhaps we can finally get rid of that dreadful evening ceremony by the guards on both sides? It is ridiculous and jingoistic, and symbolic of everything that is wrong in the relationship between the two countries.

Pulkit Malhotra Jan 19, 2014 08:33pm

Warm regards to my Pakistani Brothers and sisters

This is such a great news.I hope our relationship gets stronger and stronger with every passing day.I hope it gets so strong that closeness of our hearts succeeds in removing the differences created by the radcliffe line

Jain Jan 20, 2014 12:13am

Let's do business not war!

Mahesh Jan 20, 2014 08:51am

It is very important dicision to improve indo-pak relation.....

SHYAM LAL Jan 20, 2014 09:40am

This is very positive. When people will see gains from trade and cooperation, it will lower temperature and a positive environment will be created. This will further enhance people to people contact which is always warm and cordial. This way giant economies of of South Asia will complement each other and need for outside dependence will be minimised.

Ali Jan 21, 2014 01:57am

@Ratnam: I agree and I think we should replace that evening ceremony by having tea with each other and play cards.

Ravi Jan 21, 2014 10:17am

The sooner Pakistan takes care of Taliban, the faster trades will improve. India will be more confident this won't be missed for attacks against Indians.

siddharth Jan 21, 2014 12:21pm

@Shah : This is a welcome move shah. You still seem to be carried away by conspiracy theories. Its for pakistans well being not only indias well being. We do have same problems with china....but we are one of the largest partner in trade with china.