India-Pakistan reach broad pact on easy business visas

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A senior Indian ministry official informed that India has reached an agreement with Pakistan to liberalise visa regime for their business persons. In this regard, a cabinet note is expected to be ready in 7-8 days. “On our side, it has to go to the Cabinet through the ministry of external affairs,” Joint Secretary in the Commerce Ministry Arvind Mehta said at a FICCI. India and Pakistan at both sides should grant multiple entry visas, as per the clauses of the proposal. He said the ‘police reporting’ would also be done away with under the proposal. “The note by MEA will be ready in 7-8 days for consideration of the Cabinet,” Mehta said addressing the meeting attended by a business delegation from Pakistan. A broad agreement on the issue has been reached between India’s home ministry and interior ministry of Pakistan, he said. Mehta also sought to allay concerns among Pakistan’s businessmen that normalisation of bilateral trade would result in swarming of Pakistani market with Indian goods. “Do not be fearful of the future because things are changing,” he said, adding there are several safeguards under South Asian Free Trade Agreement for domestic industry. Present on the occasion, Pakistan High Commissioner Shahid Malik said that non-tariff barriers (NTBs) exist in India on Pakistani goods.