Will try to ease visa restrictions for Pakistani traders, says Indian HC


LAHORE:  Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria said on Friday that the visa tensions between the two neighbours is a serious issue and must be resolved, assuring that he would try to ease and increase the issuance of visa for traders.

Speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry, he said that Pakistan and India are neighbours and will continue to be so, as such there is a need for dialogue.

The top Indian diplomat told the audience that traders on both sides of the Indo-Pak border face visa issues which is among the reasons why the two sides have failed to actualise the potential $30 billion trademark estimated by the World Bank.

Trade volume through a third country is greater while direct trade between India and Pakistan stands at only $2.2bn, Bisaria noted.

He stressed that the two sides will have to work together for a peaceful future and said that poverty and illiteracy are common enemies of both nations, adding that both sides need to improve mutual ties.

Bisaria also said that the policy of confrontation that has been going on for over 70 years has benefited no one and should be dropped in favour of one which is led by the large young population on both sides that is the furthest away from the bitter past.

“People want to come together. The issues are not such that cannot be resolved,” he said.

The diplomat also expressed hope that cricket between the two nations would resume as relations normalise, since citizens on both sides want restoration of bilateral games.

He highlighted the role of media in ties between the two nations and said that reporting that is far from the truth adds to the problems.

At a dinner in Lahore on Thursday, he said he was optimistic about the resolution of current tensions between the two neighbours.

Tensions between Pakistan and India have increased in recent weeks over the harassment of diplomatic officials and their families, including children, in New Delhi.

Pakistani officials have also repeatedly protested against ceasefire violations by Indian troops at the Line of Control. Firing and shelling incidents had resulted in a number of civilian deaths.