India’s war hysteria pushes back PM Modi’s business card project


India’s tense relations with Pakistan have caused a setback to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious ‘Make in India’ project.

India had decided to roll out a “business card” for eminent businessmen from the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries, allowing them seamless travel across the region.

The Uri attack has pushed the project to the back burner. India had printed 5,000 high-security cards and received nearly 2,500 applications. Home Ministry officials refused to reveal how many were from Pakistan.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh announced during his Islamabad visit on August 3 and 4 that the “business card” was being rolled out immediately. The plan was to operationalise the cards during the now cancelled Saarc summit in Islamabad in November.

The Home Ministry is in a fix now. “The cards were printed after several rounds of negotiations among the security agencies and have enhanced security features. It had initially hit a design hurdle, with agencies differing on the security features, pushing up the cost of the project,” a senior Home Ministry official said.  Since Pakistan is a part of the grouping, intelligence agencies had expressed apprehensions about easing visa restrictions for businessmen from that country. But the government decided to implement it to bring normality in the region.