India to sign liberal visa norm agreement with, allow direct investment from Pakistan
India was expecting signing of a liberal bilateral visa norm agreement with Pakistan soon after the Pakistan government approves it, according to local media reports Saturday.
Meanwhile, India has also announced readiness to let direct investment from Pakisan enter the country, said the reports.
Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Friday said New Delhi and Islamabad could soon sign a more liberal bilateral visa regime after the Pakistan cabinet cleared it. He appealed for expeditious dismantling of all trade barriers, said local daily The Hindu, Xinhua reported.
India and Pakistan offer each other's citizens' strictly restricted visa policies, banning them travel from another city or state from the ones where they are allowed to disembark.
He was addressing a gathering after inaugurating the Integrated Checkpost at Attari on the India-Pakistan border, 33 km from Amritsar in northwest India.
The state-of-the-art facility, established on 118 acres at a cost of 1.5 billion rupees (30 million U.S. dollars), was dedicated to the "nation and India-Pakistan peace and harmony."
Indian Minister of Commerce, Industry and Textile Anand Sharma said Friday in New Delhi that India has taken an "in-principle decision as part of trade normalization process to allow foreign direct investment from Pakistan", reported local daily The Times of India.
Until now, Pakistan was the only country from where foreign direct investment was not allowed into India.
The moves came days after Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari made a private visit to India during which he held talks with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on how to improve bilateral relations of the two South Asian neighbors.