India and Pakistan should have future different from past: Indian High Commissioner

Lahore, March 30, 2018 (PPI-OT): Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria has said that India and Pakistan should have future different from the past and must not carry the burden of history. Mutual relations should be built on the basis of trade and economy and must be away from violence and war. We should not talk about negative and positive lists rather we should work on the windows of opportunities.

He was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The LCCI President Malik Tahir Javaid, Senior Vice President Khawaja Khawar Rashid, Vice President Zeeshan Khalil and Executive Committee Members also spoke on the occasion. Indian High Commissioner said that there is no better way of improving bilateral relations than mutually beneficial economic ties. He said that both Pakistan and India needed to take more steps to remove Non-Tariff Barriers that were a major impediment to bilateral trade relations. He said that at present over $5 billion trade is being done through third country.

He said that removal of non-tariff barriers, liberalization of visa and normalization of mutual relation can bring the two-way trade to the height of $30 billion. He said that two-third population of India is below the age of 35 and same is in Pakistan as 65% people of Pakistan are under the age of 35. He said that both countries have a lot of potential to cater to each other.

“Chambers of Commerce and Industry of both countries are the most important lobby as not only they can play an instrumental role in strengthening mutual trade and economic ties but they can also influence the policy makers”, Indian High Commissioner concluded. The LCCI President Malik Tahir Javaid said that at present, an unfavourable scenario has developed both at political and diplomatic fronts.

We have been witnessing these cycles time and again that first there is a trust deficit and some joint efforts are made for trust building then a bad incident happens and we end up yet again at trust deficit. One such incident must not halt the process of relation building. He said that both countries should give the peace another chance to prevail in the region for our youth and coming generations.

“In this context, we – the representatives of private sector – think that both Pakistan and India have to show a lot of maturity and act very sensibly. We believe that people to people contacts can play effective role in dispelling the wrong perception about each other”, the LCCI President added.

Malik Tahir Javaid said that there are a number of issues prevailing at both the sides in the way of normalization of trade links between two key members of SAARC region. He said that regional trade is significant which cannot promise any good results until Pakistan and India join hands with futuristic approach. It is high time that greater trade between two countries should be given a fair chance to contribute in the prospects of region for peace and prosperity.

The LCCI President said that trade in the region constitutes only 1.4% of the total world imports and 1.2% of exports, whereas merchandise trade is only 27.9% of GDP, the lowest in the world. South Asia is the least integrated region in the world. One reason is trust deficit amongst the neighbouring countries but the other important factor is poor connectivity.

He said that for India it would be 20% cheaper to trade with Brazil than with Pakistan. For better trade relations countries have to invest in confidence building measures as well as on connectivity. He said that from the last couple of years, the bilateral trade is averaging around dollar 2 billion whereas it is estimated that India and Pakistan have a potential for trade of something between dollar 10-20 billion. Unless we pave the way for commercial importers and exporters, the businessmen from both sides with continue to opt trading via Dubai and Singapore etc. This only adds to cost and time factor.

Malik Tahir Javaid said that chambers of commerce from Pakistani and Indian sides have to play a sensible role to facilitate their members with regard to developing networking amongst each other. He said that India is an established brand for offering world class healthcare facility. These facilities are using the same technology delivered by competent specialists attaining similar success rates as in developed world at much lower costs. India has emerged as a leader in medical tourism.

These services should always be available for the Pakistani patients on humanitarian grounds and LCCI offers its services for this noble cause. The LCCI Senior Vice President Khawaja Khawar Rashid and Vice President Zeeshan Khalil also called for joint efforts for trade normalization and for removing of non-trade barriers. They suggested establishment of a common area at border where businessmen of the both countries can meet each other for business deals.

For more information, contact:
Information Department
Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI)
Lahore -54000, Pakistan
Tel: +92-42-111-222-499
Fax: +92-42-36368854