Dialogue only way to move forward:Indian Deputy HC

KARACHI: The newly appointed Indian Deputy High Commissioner in Pakistan, JP Singh has said that India was also worried over ongoing tension at Indo-Pak border but there was a common understanding that dialogue from both sides was the only way out, however, talks and terror could not take place together.

Speaking at a meeting during his maiden visit to Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCCI), JP Singh reiterated, “Dialogue is the only way forward for the two countries but it cannot take place under the shadow of terrorism. We want a very peaceful and friendly relation with Pakistan.”

First Secretary (Head of Chancery) Indian High Commission, Shatrughna Sinha, Chairman Businessmen Group and Former President KCCI, Siraj Kassam Teli, Vice Chairman BMG Anjum Nisar, President KCCI, Iftikhar Ahmed Vohra, Senior Vice President KCCI, Mohammad Ibrahim Kasumbi, Vice President KCCI, Agha Shahab Ahmed Khan, ex-officio Abdullah Zaki, Former President Majyd Aziz and Managing Committee members attended the meeting.

JP Singh, who has recently assumed charge as Indian Deputy High Commissioner in August, further stated that the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision is to move along and take the whole region forward as he had always focused on having greater economic, trade and investment relations with countries around the world with specific focus on neighboring countries.

Referring to Indo-Pak trade relations, Singh said that there was a lot of potential to increase bilateral trade between India and Pakistan but there were various policy, regulatory and logistic issues. “We would like to open Monabao-khokhrapar border for trade also and we have been working on various bilateral trade related issues. In this regard, we are developing state-of-the-art facilities at Wagah border from our side including modernization of the logistics whereas Pakistan must also do the same by upgrading facilities on this side of the border”, he added.

“Series of other initiatives are also being discussed with an idea to encourage trade between the two countries and both sides will certainly benefit from the fruits of enhanced trade and the ultimate beneficiary should be the common man”, he added.

Replying to a question pertaining to rising complaints of rejection and delays in issuance of visas, the Indian Deputy High Commissioner categorically said that there had been no change in the Indian visa issuance policy during the past three months as the delays were due to some procedures, however, the Indian High Commission was trying to streamline its visa operation and plans to establish a call center for visa inquiries in order to facilitate Pakistanis intending to visit India.

He assured that the Indian High Commission would give special consideration to those visas applicants which had been recommended by the Karachi Chamber but all the applicants must also ensure that their visa application forms were duly filled along with all the required documents for timely issuance of visas.

Speaking on the occasion, Chairman Businessmen Group & Former President KCCI, Siraj Kassam Teli, while expressing deep concern over escalating tension between Pakistan and India, slammed politicians, militaries and bureaucracies of both sides for the tension on Indo-Pak border. The governments, politicians and bureaucracies must not keep the core issues of Kashmir and water in the backburners and these issues should be resolved first as by keeping the core issues in the backburners, the other things especially trade does not move forward in the real sense.

“Although we keep moving forward in the right direction but all of a sudden, things go wrong and hurdles are created due to political or military reasons by both sides. Subsequently, we go back to square one position and have to start again from point zero”, Teli opined.

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