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Pakistan, India can take trade up to $30bn if ties improve: Indian HC

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Lahore, Mar 30: The Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan, Ajay Bisaria, on Friday stressed the need to improve trade ties between the two neighbouring nations while addressing an event at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).

Bisaria's statement comes at a time when relations between the two nuclear neighbours are at a low amid heightened tensions with both countries blaming each other for harassment of diplomats. A Pakistani delegation is also currently visiting India to discuss water issues.

The top Indian diplomat told the audience today that traders on both sides of the Indo-Pak border face visa issues which is among the reasons why the two sides have failed to actualise the potential $30 billion trade mark estimated by the World Bank.

Trade volume through a third country is greater while direct trade between India and Pakistan stands at only $2.2bn, Bisaria noted.

He stressed that the two sides will have to work together for a peaceful future and said that poverty and illiteracy are common enemies of both nations, adding that both sides need to improve mutual ties.

Bisaria also said that the policy of confrontation that has been going on for over 70 years has benefited no one and should be dropped in favour of one which is led by the large young population on both sides that is the furthest away from the bitter past.

The diplomat also expressed hope that cricket between the two nations would resume as relations normalise, since citizens on both sides want restoration of bilateral games.

He highlighted the role of media in ties between the two nations and said that reporting that is far from the truth adds to the problems.

Last week, Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India Sohail Mahmood had expressed similar sentiments for peace and said that both India and Pakistan must give their next generations a future of hope and opportunities.

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