PESHAWAR: Indian High Commissioner Dr T.C.A. Raghavan has said New Delhi and Islamabad should behave like normal trading partners as peace and security in Pakistan was important for economic growth of both Pakistan and India alike.
He said this while talking to business community during a visit to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chamber of Commerce and Industry here on Wednesday.
Mr Raghavan dispelled the impression that enhanced trade with India would result in Indian goods flooding Pakistani markets and thus, rendering local traders out of business.
In a statement issued here, the Indian High Commission said the envoy was on a two days visit to Peshawar, where he had a wide-ranging interaction, including meeting with provincial Governor Sardar Mahtab Ahmad Khan, Senators and business community.
The statement said the Indian High Commission had been following a liberalised business visa policy, with provision to issue long-term multiple-entry visa to the businessmen involved in trade with India on a regular basis.
It said its efforts were also focused on implementing the road map agreed upon by the two countries in September 2012 for bilateral trade promotion. In this regard, the grant of MFN status by Pakistan to India was awaited.
The high commissioner said trade through Wagha-Attari needed to be expanded with improvement in ease of doing business by various essential steps such as streamlining of customs procedures, harmonising standards, and improving testing and quarantine facilities.
He said extension of working hours at the border facility in question enhanced staffing and laying facility at Zero Point for B-2-B interactions without requirement for visa were also under active consideration by both sides.
“With a view to promote trade from Afghanistan, the Indian government has announced allowing Afghan trucks to go beyond Wagha to Attari early this year,” he said.
Mr Raghavan said 138 items, which Pakistani trucks could bring from Attari to Pakistan, could also be extended to Afghan trucks.
He said he believed that there was a clause of ‘National Treatment’ under APTTA granting all services and privileges to Afghan truck carriers also.
Published in Dawn, April 23rd, 2015