India hosts Pakistan trade show
NEW DELHI - Agence France-PresseTraditional foes India and Pakistan said they hoped to transform trade ties and boost peace prospects at the opening of the largest Pakistani commercial fair ever staged on Indian soil. “There is no other option but economic partnership between Indian and Pakistan,” Indian Commerce Minister Anand Sharma said on April 12 at the launch of the four-day exhibition in New Delhi, a sentiment echoed by Pakistani officials.
“We have to recognise our true trade potential... and leave our children with a legacy that ensures prosperity, harmony and peace,” Sharma said at the fair called “Lifestyle Pakistan.” “The two nations have opened up a new chapter with this exhibition.” The show’s opening came just days after Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari made the first trip to India by a Pakistani head of state in seven years, encouraging ties.
Pakistan has brought more than 650 business people to the Indian capital for the trade show as commercial relations improve between the nuclear-armed neighbours.
The two countries have approved a most-favoured-nation accord, reducing taxes that hamper trade. Official two-way trade of around $2.6 billion is heavily tilted in India’s favour, but unofficial trade is estimated at up to $10 billion.
The show underscored hopes voiced by the two nations that boosting trade can help peace talks, including Kahsmir, which India warily resumed last year after suspending it over an attack by Islamist gunmen on Mumbai in 2008 that killed 166 people.