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India-Pak may have relaxed visa regime soon

India and Pakistan will soon have a relaxed visa regime that will facilitate easier travel for journalists, businessmen, children and senior citizens of both the countries.



New Delhi: India and Pakistan will soon have
a relaxed visa regime that will facilitate easier travel for
journalists, businessmen, children and senior citizens of both
the countries.

New Delhi and Islamabad are working closely towards
amendments in the existing visa agreement at the Joint Working
Group meetings for finalisation of a pact possibly at the
next Ministerial-level bilateral meeting.
"If both the countries reach an agreement, for the
first time India and Pakistan will have a liberalised visa
regime," a government official said.

India has proposed relaxed norms for issuance of visas
to journalists, businessmen, children (below the age of 12
years) and senior citizens (above 60 years) and patients
travelling for medical treatment.

Under the proposal, these visas will not be city-
specific and visa holders will be allowed to travel across the
country, the official said.

New Delhi has proposed that anyone travelling to India
with a valid visa who wants to travel again within a span of
two years should be exempted from the time-consuming security
background checks process which is done from here.

"We are positive on liberalising the visa regime with
Pakistan to facilitate greater people-to-people contacts
between the two nations," the official said.
New Delhi is also in favour of abolishing the present
policy of "port of entry and exit has to be same" and allowing
the travellers to enter and exit the respective country
through their chosen ports.

Earlier this month, at the meeting of the Joint Working
Group on visa issues in Islamabad, the two sides had announced
that they had agreed to continue discussions on amendments in
the existing visa agreement at the group`s next meeting to be
held in New Delhi soon.

PTI

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