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Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on Tuesday advocated strengthening the trade and commerce relationship between India and Pakistan.
Speaking at a official luncheon hosted by Shahbaz Sharif, chief minister, Eastern Punjab Province, in Lahore, at his residence, Badal said the two neighbours share a brotherly relationship, and that they cannot remain separate from each other and would have to complement each other economically.
He said we have our own strengths in certain areas of business and are fully aware of preferences of our Pakistani brothers. He said time is ripe to focus on boosting trade and open all channels to strengthen such ties.
Advocating greater trade ties between SAARC nations, Badal said that India and Pakistan must learn from the European Union experiment and take steps to boost mutual industrial and trade ties, keeping aside the differences. He said that once the two countries see a boost in trade, it would usher in prosperity and become the propelling factor in opening the most difficult barriers standing between the estranged neighbours for the past 65 years.
Stressing upon the need for bilateral talks to solve issues between the two countries countries, Eastern Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said that despite differences there was a greater scope to increase business between both the countries. He said that India had also fought with China but trade between India and China has reached $16 billion whereas trade between India and Pakistan was meager $1.5 billion. He said Idia and Pakistan must sink their differences and focus on boosting trade between both countries. Sharif questioned the logic behind adopting the circuitous route of Mumbai-Karachi that raise the prices of inputs due to extra carriage cost when the directly route through Wagha border could be used.
Trade bodies sign MoU
The Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, to strengthen trade and commerce ties between Idia and Pakistan, on Tuesday, in Lahore, signed an MoU with the Punjab chapter of PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The MoU was singed by Aftab Ahmed Vohra, chairman, Lahore Chamber of Commerce, and Rajiv Bali, chairman, PHD Chamber of Commerce, in presence of Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and Chief Minister of Punjab Province Shahbaz Sharif.
Describing it a historic day in the history of Indo-Pak relations, Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal said it was for the first time that the two chambers of commerce have joined hands and they would work in tandem with both countries to give a fillip to Indo-Pak trade. He said this MoU was more important in context of impending full port status to Wagah Border that would multiply trade on Wagha route. He said that economics was like Tsunami and that it has the potential to break all artificial barriers between India and Pakistan.
Earlier, industrialists participating in the discussion sought easy Visa clearance for trade and commerce, allowing trade in local currency, adopting cluster approach for industrialisation, both countries allowing FDI in their each others industry besides enactment of an arbitration procedure to resolve business disputes.