In a bid to give a new push to the India-Pakistan trade ties and enhance economic engagement between the two nations, Commerce Secretaries of both the countries will meet in Islamabad on April 27 and 28.
This is the second high-level interaction between the two countries after the resumption of India-Pakistan dialogue on all comprehensive bilateral issues. Last month, Home Secretaries of the two countries met, followed by an informal meeting between the Prime Minister Manmohan
Dr. Singh and Pakistan Prime Minister Yosuf Raza Gilani on the sidelines of India-Pakistan cricket World Cup semi-final match in Mohali.
Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar would be meeting his counterpart Zafar Mehmood by end of April, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said on the sidelines of a function organised by the Commerce and Industry Ministry and the Exim Bank in New Delhi.
However, a senior Commerce Ministry official informed that the trade talks, which were suspended in the aftermath of the Mumabi terror attacks in November 2008, are scheduled to be held on April 27 and 28.
Stating that there was no specific agenda for the talks, the officials said that the meeting would try to iron out outstanding issues affecting bilateral trade and the talks are expected to give boost to trade across the borders. “Besides, it depends on what they (Pakistan) want,” the official said.
India-Pakistan trade is only about $2 billion due to lack of trade ties marred by poor relations between the two countries. India's total global trade is over $500 billion. The trade balance is mostly in favour of India and Pakistan has been complaining of non-tariff barriers from New Delhi.
Home Secretary G. K. Pillai and his Pakistani counterpart Chaudhary Qamar Zaman met in New Delhi on March 28 and 29. The talks were termed, “extremely positive” and in the right direction.
They marked the resumption of high-level discussions on all bilateral issues more than two years after the composite dialogue process was suspended following the Mumbai terror attacks.