India, Pakistan to allow greater trade through land route

New Delhi, Jan. 18: India and Pakistan have agreed to allow round-the-clock trade through the countries’ Wagah-Attari border on Saturday.

Trade ministers of the two countries meeting in New Delhi also approved a liberalised visa policy for businessmen to help expand two-way trade, which was barely $2.5 billion in 2012/13 fiscal year against a potential $10 billion.

Both sides hope closer integration of India and Pakistan which would help lay the ground for a lowering of political tensions between them. .

Union Commerce Minister, Anand Sharma, said that containers would move into Amritsar, and Lahore instead of being unloaded at the check-post and re-loaded.

“We have agreed that we will open Wagah-Attari border 24X7 for trade. We will also allow movement of containers both the sides through Wagah-Attari to Amritsar and Lahore, respectively,” said Sharma in New Delhi.

Pakistan also agreed to provide non-discriminatory market access to Indian companies.

Last year there was little movement on trade because of a series of incidents over military control of the line dividing Kashmir between the two countries.

“That, we believe, will bring efficiency to this trading relationship and also to start work vigourously towards providing non- discriminatory market access to each other on a reciprocal basis because it is important that both the country’s businessmen, industrialists and investors to have a level-playing field on both the sides,” said Pakistan’s Commerce Minister Kurram Dastagir Khan.

Both ministers also decided to expedite the process of giving banking licences to facilitate trade and commerce between Asian neighbours. (ANI)