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Sky is the limit for India, Pakistan ties: Envoy

July 16, 2013 19:21 IST

Asserting that it accords high priority for improvement of ties with India, Pakistan on Tuesday said "all branches" of its government have been given "clear policy directives" to work towards it.

Pakistan also said normalisation of trade relations with India was a priority and said "sky is the limit" for deeper economic cooperation between the two countries.

"The government of Pakistan and in particular the government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is clear, categorical in according high priority to improvement of relations with India," Pakistan High Commissioner to India Salman Bashir said in New Delhi.

He added this has been stated "very explicitly" by Sharif not only prior to his party's win in the May 11 general elections "but also in fact after that it has been translated into clear policy directives to all branches of the government of Pakistan to work to improving relations with India".

Bashir, who was addressing a gathering at the PHD Chambers, also spoke about the need for security and stability in the region and also touched upon the desire to develop SAARC on the lines of the European Union.

"The logical course for the history to proceed is for these two countries to become good neighbours, friends and that is not only for the people of Pakistan and India but also forms a critical ingredient in realising the vision of a prosperous and peaceful South Asia," Bashir said.  

"That is clearly the direction that we hope and wish to take and it will be our sincere effort to see how we can translate this noble desire," Bashir said.

The Pakistani High Commissioner took a few questions from the participants which were mainly directed making the visa process easier and improving infrastructure for bilateral trade.

"I say it very categorically that normalisation of trade relations is a priority and that roadmap that has been established needs to be worked on both sides.

"I believe that to have a wish list is one thing but to work on it is a challenge and this requires commitment and sincerity," he said.

Bashir said Pakistan itself feels economic development is in its own interest, for which one needs stability at home and in the neighbourhood.

He also talked about removing irritants in relations including treatment of each other's prisoners.

"We need to work on the whole canvas and of course economy and business are important, it is generally said if you have good business relations, it will take care of other problems.

"But I think certainly as we go forward, these tracks will see movement," Bashir said.

Speaking about SAARC, he talked about European Union and other bodies like the ASEAN.

"I think it is time to give serious consideration to both reasons as to why South Asia has not been able to despite these tremendous resources, despite the genius of its people, its immense realise as fully as some other countries...this requires a bit of introspection," he said.

He said the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi is working on making visa process easier and also trying to speed up the time taken to issue visas.

He also touched upon the need for making better infrastructure on both sides of border for trade.

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