In a move aimed at boosting trade between India and Pakistan, the Union Cabinet on Friday approved the signing of a revised protocol on shipping services between India and Pakistan.
The revised protocol will allow lifting of cargo between India and Pakistan by third country vessels and cargo of other countries by Indian and Pakistani flag vessels from each other's ports.
"The shipping protocol signed in 1975 had restricted shipping trade between India and Pakistan. However, after a discussion between the two countries, it has been decided to remove certain restrictions," Information and Broadcasting Minister P R Dasmunsi told reporters in New Delhi on Friday.
India's exports to Pakistan grew by 167 per cent to Rs 2,288 crore in 2005 from Rs 850 crore in 2001. Imports from Pakistan grew by 42 per cent to Rs 417 crore in 2005 from Rs 292 crore in 2001.
The Cabinet also approved the acquisition of four fixed X-ray and three gamma ray container scanning systems for deployment at the Mumbai, Chennai, Kandla and Tuticorin ports at an estimated cost of Rs 172.94 crore.
Among other decisions, the Cabinet approved the extension of the term of the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities by five months to March 31, 2007.
It also approved the transfer of an additional 15.168 acres of land near Gobindgarh Fort at Amritsar to the Punjab government, with the condition that the state government would undertake various security-related construction work.
Dasmunsi said the winter session of Parliament from November 22 to December 19 would have 20 sessions. The minimum support programme for wheat would be decided this week when Finance Minister P Chidambaram returned from a foreign tour, he added.
The Cabinet also ratified the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.