New Delhi: Demanding redressal of its
concerns on cross-border terrorism by Pakistan in an
"effective and transparent" manner, India on Wednesday said it was
necessary for a "comprehensive, serious and sustained"
dialogue between the two countries.
It also expressed willingness to look at existing
bilateral visa agreement that was signed in 1974 to facilitate
travel by bonafide businessmen from both the countries amid
complaints by a Pakistani industry body that tough visa norms
in India are hurdles to trade.
Observing that the two countries have remained
"distanced" since independence, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao
said India has consistently proposed a step-by-step approach
for normalisation of relations and this approach does not
"preclude discussions on any issue".
She said India was committed to resolving all
outstanding issues with Pakistan through dialogue.
"However, for the dialogue to be comprehensive,
serious and sustained, Pakistan must also address our
terrorism-related concerns in an effective and transparent
Rao, who was addressing a conference on `India-
Pakistan Economic Relations: Prospects and Challenges`, also
talked about setting up an Integrated Check Post (ICP) at a
cost of Rs 150 crore, along the India-Pakistan border at
Attari for trade facilitation.
"We are also open to looking at the existing bilateral
visa agreement that was signed in 1974 to facilitate travel by
bonafide businessmen from both countries," she said.
While responding to issues raised by the Federation of
Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) president
Sultan Ahmed Chawla, who talked about the need to take trade
relations forward, Rao reiterated India`s commitment to remove
Referring to Indo-Pak talks in July this year in
Islamabad, the Foreign Secretary said, "There were a number of
proposals we had put on the table and one of them was for the
high officials, Commerce Secretaries of two countries to meet
and discuss outstanding issues on the trade front to see how
we could address the removal of these obstacles."
"We are still committed to take this process forward,
as and when the Pakistan side is ready," she said, adding "We
have made similar suggestions as far as trade across the Line
of Control in Jammu and Kashmir is concerned for better
facilitation and better logistics."
Rao also hoped that Pakistan will grant Most Favoured
Nation`s status to India based on the recommendation by
Pakistani business community and will shift from a positive
list of imports to a negative list regime.