LAHORE - Calling for removing non-tariff barriers between India and Pakistan, the Indian envoy here said on Friday both the countries need to shun violence and normalise relations in order to take the two-way trade to $30 billion from the present $5 billion.
Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria, addressing the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) here, also said that there is no better way of improving bilateral relations than mutually beneficial economic ties.
He said mutual relations between the two countries should be built on the basis of trade and economy, and violence and war should not be an option.
Bisaria’s statement came at a time when relations between the two nuclear-power neighbours are at a low amid heightened tensions following claims and counter-claims by both the countries about harassment of each other’s diplomats.
The Indian High Commissioner also said that India and Pakistan should have the future different from the past and must not carry the burden of history.
“Both Pakistan and India need to take more steps to remove non-tariff barriers that are a major impediment to bilateral trade relations.
“We should not talk about negative and positive lists rather we should work on the windows of opportunities. At present, over USD 5 billion trade is being done through third country but after removal of non-tariff barriers, liberalisation of visa and normalisation of mutual relations, the two-way trade could touch a high USD 30 billion,” he said.
Stressing that both India and Pakistan could cater to each other if they utilise youths, Bisaria said that two-third population of India is below the age of 35 and same is the case in Pakistan where 65 per cent population is under the age of 35.
“Chambers of the commerce and industry of both the countries are important lobby as not only they can play an instrumental role in strengthening mutual trade and economic ties but also influence the policy makers,” he said.
LCCI President Malik Tahir Javaid said at present an unfavourable scenario has developed both at political and diplomatic fronts.
“We have been witnessing time and again that first there is a trust deficit, then some joint efforts are made for trust building, then some incident happens and we end up yet again at trust deficit. One such (terror) incident must not halt the process of relation building. Both countries should give the peace another chance to prevail in the region for our youth and coming generations,” he said.
Pakistan and India need to show a lot of maturity and act very sensibly, he added.