The Indian government and industry bodies from India and Pakistan have joined hands to showcase a massive ''India Show'' at Lahore, set to open today, to initiate a new phase in trade and economic engagement between Indians and Pakistanis.
Pakistan's commerce minister, Makhdoom Amin Fahim would inaugurate the three-day India Show today at Lahore Expo Centre. The show is being organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in collaboration with India's commerce and industry ministry with support from Pakistan's commerce ministry and Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The event has around 150 Indian companies showcasing their offerings, with expectations of finalisation of business deals.
In another first, it would mark the first bilateral visit by an Indian commerce and industry minister to Pakistan. Commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma will walk into Pakistan through the Attari-Wagah border on Monday, 13 February to take part in the India Show celebrations and also hold bilateral talks with Fahim to explore ways to increase the trade between the two nations, lift restrictions on trade and movement of people and implement a liberal visa regime to enable more people to people exchange.
Sharma would be accompanied by an 80-member strong business and official delegation that will visit Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad to interact with Pakistani CEOs and officials.
FICCI president RV Kanoria told journalists in New Delhi,"Amount of interest for this historic visit is huge. Large SMEs are also part of the delegation. Both the countries are going to gain from this visit. It also our desire that the visa regime from both sides, at least for businessmen, should be liberalised removing all restrictions on their movement.''
The main objective behind the three-day visit is to put in place mechanisms in an effort to normalise trade ties between India and Pakistan. "I have no doubt in my mind that bilateral trade, which currently stands at about $2.7 billion, can be raised to $10 billion by 2015 if trade through third countries -- Dubai, Singapore and Central Asian countries -- is channelised into direct exchanges between the countries,'' Kanoria said.