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Pak, India open trade talks in Islamabad

India to take 3 steps forward if Pak takes one: Sharma

Staff Report

ISLAMABAD – Trade talks between India and Pakistan have started here today with an aim to reduce bilateral trade barriers and bring prosperity in the region.

After reaching Islamabad, Indian Commerce Minister Anand Sharma told that several issues would be discussed with Pakistan including bilateral trade that would strengthen the economy of both the countries. Indian Commerce Minister Anand Sharma is leading the Indian side in trade talks while Pakistani side is headed by Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim.

According to sources, both the countries would discuss how to remove the non-tariff barriers and ways to enhance the bilateral trade. Pakistan and India are likely to sign three agreements today, sources added. Indian Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said that he was hopeful of improvement in bilateral relations between India and Pakistan.

Talking to journalists after a meeting here on Wednesday, he said that if Pakistan took a step forward for improvement of relations, India would take three steps. Sharma said that they had come to Pakistan with open heart. "We did whatever we had said for improvement of relations between the two neighboring countries."

On the occasion Pakistan Minister for Commerce Makhdoom Amin Fahin underlined the need of removing barricades for moving forward. He said that the process initiated for improvement of relations was needed to be taken forward. Sharma is currently visiting Pakistan with delegation which include industry leaders and is set to sign different agreements for normalization of trade between the two arch rival nighbouring nations.

He said that misunderstandings can only be removed through talks. He said the mutual trade will bring about prosperity in the two countries, adding both Islamabad and New Delhi have made up their mind to give boost to their business and trade to give stability to the economy.

Mr. Sharma is leading the Indian side in trade talks while Pakistani side is headed by Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim. According to sources, both the countries would discuss how to remove the non-tariff barriers and ways to enhance the bilateral trade. Pakistan and India are likely to sign three agreements. Meanwhile, Indian Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said Wednesday that an Indian business delegation would still visit Iran despite a string of bomb attacks blamed on the increasingly isolated Islamic republic.

Sharma told newsmen during a trade visit to Pakistan that terrorism and trade were “separate issues,” adding that the perpetrators behind Monday’s bomb attack on an Israeli diplomat’s car in New Delhi had yet to be established. “I am sure that our investigating agencies will identify and bring to justice the perpetrators,” said Sharma.

Israel said Tehran was responsible for the attack which badly injured an Israeli woman, but Sharma insisted the matter had to be dealt with through the legal process. “Let’s be very, very clear, an act of terrorism has to be dealt as per the law,” he said.

India said last week it would send a “huge” trade mission by the end of this month to Iran to explore business opportunities created by sanctions imposed by the West over the Islamic republic’s disputed nuclear programme.

 
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