Indo-Pak exploring ways to enhance telecom, air linkages
Islamabad: India and Pakistan are exploring possibilities to enhance telecommunication and air linkages to boost bilateral ties and trade.
The issues came up for discussions during the two-day Commerce Secretary level talks here. Commerce Secretary S R Rao held the 7th round of talks on commercial and economic co-operation with his Pakistani counterpart, Munir Qureshi.
Preliminary discussions were held on possibilities of better telecommunication linkages keeping in view the requirements of business communities on both sides for international roaming facilities, a joint statement said.
"It was agreed that separate sub-groups on either side would take forward this dialogue. Commerce secretaries would review thereafter," it said.
Both the sides also discussed ways to improve air connectivity between New Delhi and Islamabad.
"It was agreed that a Joint Working Group would be formed before 15th November, which would work out a more liberalized regime of reciprocal bilateral rights for commercial flights, to ensure economic viability of this air route," it said.
The statement said this JWG would also explore mechanisms for more efficient courier services.
It was said that against an average of about 23 flights per week between New Delhi and other important national capitals of the SAARC countries, there is as yet no direct air connectivity between New Delhi and Islamabad.
Both the sides also signed three agreements for cooperation in customs matters, redressal of trade grievances and conforming to quality standards. The step would further normalise economic relations between the countries.
"These agreements are expected to substantially facilitate bilateral trade mechanisms," the statement said.