News / Asia

India, Pakistan Hope to Improve Business Ties

Pakistan's High Commissioner to India Salman Bashir, right, receives Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna at Chaklala airbase in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, September 7, 2012.
Pakistan's High Commissioner to India Salman Bashir, right, receives Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna at Chaklala airbase in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, September 7, 2012.
Anjana Pasricha
Indian and Pakistani officials are hopeful that easing of cross-border travel restrictions will improve their economic relationship. 

Starting in mid-January, India and Pakistan will relax existing restrictions on visas, allowing people to obtain travel documents faster and travel more freely within the two countries. Some businessmen will also get multiple entry visas.

The new visa rules are part of a thaw in ties between the neighbors.

Pakistani High Commissioner to India Salman Bashir,told a business meeting in New Delhi Monday that easier cross-border travel will facilitate business ties. He is calling for a change of attitude on both sides at all levels.

“In terms of business and economic cooperation, what really matters is the sentiment," Bashir said. "We need to keep in our mind the importance of creating the right sentiment, creating the requisite enabling environment for industry and for trade to prosper together. We need to start changing the narrative.  In Pakistan, we are very cognizant of that and we need to do more, both sides, to create that requisite enabling environment.”

The new visa rules are part of several measures adopted by both countries to improve cross-border trade, which is paltry, largely because of the legacy of a tense political relationship.

But since last year, both countries have resolved to improve economic issues and put more difficult disputes on the back-burner until a later time.

They have opened an expanded border trade terminal. Pakistan has opened most commerce to India by agreeing to grant it Most Favored Nation status.

An additional secretary at the Indian Foreign Ministry, Y.K. Sinha, says one of the biggest confidence building measures between India and Pakistan in recent times is their improving trade relationship.

“Most important is the sort of confidence that the business communities on each side, in each country have in each other, that is a very essential ingredient of the overall dialogue process," Sinha said. "It will serve to a large extent in trying to bridge the trust deficit that exists between the two countries and also it will be important for the overall growth of the region. I think the two biggest countries - India and Pakistan - once they are able to normalize their trade relations, it would benefit the region as a whole.”        

Sanjay Kathuria, an economist at the World Bank, says India’s economic growth in recent years offers huge opportunities to smaller countries such as Bangladesh and Pakistan. But he says the trade potential is not being tapped because South Asia is one of the least integrated regions in the world compared to other regions such as the European Union or East Asia.     

“South Asia trade at 2011 numbers is really four to five percent - the intra-regional trade compared to its total trade," explained Kathuria. " ou get the picture, that it is a very small share of total trade with the aspiration of EU being more than 60 percent but even closer to home, ASEAN being 20 to 25 percent.”

The World Bank estimates that trade within South Asia could grow to $20 billion, if restrictions are removed. Political leaders in both India and Pakistan say growing trade will also help stabilize the region.

You May Like

Israelis Quietly Expand Enclave in Palestinian District of Jerusalem

Estimated 500 settlers, armed or protected by paramilitary police, live in Silwan among 50,000 Palestinians More

Video US, Iran Face Similar Challenges in Syrian Fight Against IS

Both Washington, Tehran back fighters battling Islamic State militants in Iraq -- but in Syria they support opposing sides in country’s civil war More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid