Paknews- Pakistan suspended trade, India never stop: India

India has never stopped trade with its neighbour but trade activity has been suspended by Pakistan. Though the two countries continue to trade goods, the volume has remained far below potential, said India’s Deputy High Commissioner to Pakistan Dr M Suresh Kumar.

Speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Kumar stressed that transit trade was extremely important as Central Asia was a big market and India needed to gain access to it. Similarly, Central Asia also required access to India.

He called India the most important country in the world, which was going to become the largest economy very soon.

“Our services sector has grown enormously. Now, we are focusing more on manufacturing like automobiles and electronics,” remarked the deputy high commissioner.

He emphasised that India always wanted better relations with Pakistan and “we cannot change the geography. The two countries have always been neighbours.”

Therefore, “it would be better to see how we can address our problems and change our situation. We want to move towards normal relations.”

He pointed out that in the last few years, due to Covid-19, the number of visas had declined, but now 30,000 visas were being issued every year. Medical visas were also being given.

The envoy clarified that they had not denied any sports visa and a lot of sports activities were taking place between the two countries.

“Earlier, diplomacy used to focus on political work, now the time is gone. Gone are the days when embassies compiled political reports. Now, diplomacy is done for tourism, trade and technology because money speaks its own language.”

Citing India’s relations with China, the envoy pointed to $120 billion worth of trade between the two countries, where the trade balance was in favour of Beijing.

He emphasised that intellectual property had become more important than physical property. “By sitting in distant countries and manufacturing in other countries, Europe is making money due to the intellectual property rights,” he said.

“Universities in Europe focus on technology. We have also started linking our universities with industry.”

Startups are growing rapidly in India as the country is ranked third among eco-startup countries. “Traditionally, we were in the services sector. If we can do all these things, then why can’t Pakistan?”

“If we talk about the auto sector, the world’s biggest auto companies are working in India. We have imposed heavy taxes on imported vehicles to benefit the local industry,” said Kumar.

“More business visas should be issued. Businesses cannot thrive unless people visit each other’s country.”

Speaking on the occasion, LCCI President Kashif Anwar stressed that it was a heartening reality that a vast majority of people on both sides of the border harboured feelings of immense warmth and brotherhood towards each other.

“We believe that the foremost step that could be taken to improve economic relations is to normalise trade. This will bring substantial economic benefits to both countries.”

As Pakistan and India were the two most populous and largest economies in the South Asian region, the LCCI president underscored the need for exploring sector-specific opportunities to enhance bilateral trade.

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