Indo-Pak aim to double trade volume in 3 years

Lahore: India and Pakistan aim to double their trade volume in three years, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said today as he arrived in this country with a large business delegation to hold talks for normalising trade relations between the two countries.

Sharma walked into Pakistan through the Wagah land border with a 120-member delegation, becoming the first Indian Commerce Minister to visit the country in three decades. He was received by his Pakistani counterpart, Makhdoom Amin Fahim, who escorted him across the border.

Sharma told the media: "We have a target to double the trade volume between us in three years". Trade between the two countries should increase and both sides should create the environment for this, he said. A new gate would be opened at the Wagah border to facilitate trade, he added.

Responding to a question, Sharma said India supports Pakistan`s case for a European Union-proposed waiver on duties for 75 Pakistani products.

The waiver was proposed to help Pakistan cope with the impact of floods that devastated the country in 2010. "When there were floods in Pakistan, India supported its case for providing it access to the markets of the European Union," he said.

In response to another question, Sharma said all outstanding issues between the two countries, including the Kashmir dispute, should be peacefully resolved. During his four-day visit, Sharma will interact with Pakistani businessmen and chambers of commerce and industry at Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad.