‘Pak responsible for delay in visa liberalisation’

Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar on Monday held Pakistan responsible for delay in implementation of the liberalised visa regime.

New Delhi: Holding Pakistan responsible for delay in implementation of the liberalised visa regime, Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar on Monday said relaxation in norms was essential for improving trade relations between the two neighbours.

"I feel Pakistan is responsible (for failure to ink the liberalised visa regime)," he told reporters when asked about the reasons for India and Pakistan failing to sign the much-anticipated agreement for visa liberalisation.

Pakistan, Aiyar said, has suggested that such an agreement should be signed by ministers and not at the secretary level.

Recently, at the Home Secretary level meeting between India and Pakistan, both the sides failed to ink the pact and merely agreed to do it at an early date after Islamabad insisted on political participation.
Aiyar was speaking at a FICCI function on India-Pakistan relationship.

"Lot of interaction between India and Pakistan businessmen has to take place. We must facilitate it through a visa regime. Unfortunately although some progress was made there... (but) was hold up on political grounds," he said, adding, "I am hoping, we will overcome this".

Aiyar also said trade should be backed up with mutual investments between the countries.

"Unless this trade is backed up with huge amount of investments, it will be difficult to sustain it against political pressures, that will always work," he added.

Further, on normalisation of trade relations, Aiyar said: "If we are going to have a stable trade relationship, we have to recognise that some industries in Pakistan are going to be adversely affected."

The Rajya Sabha member said both the sides should take steps to protect infant industries.


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