New Delhi: Ahead of the visit of Pakistan Commerce Minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim to India, industry body CII on Sunday said cooperation in areas like healthcare, IT and entertainment can boost economic relations between the two neighbours.
    
Fahim is leading a large Pakistani business delegation, which will be attending the summit in Mumbai, beginning September 26. He will also travel to the national capital for bilateral meetings.
    
"Increased exchanges in these sectors would not only boost bilateral cooperation but also help strengthen people-to-people links and contribute to confidence-building," CII said in its study on India-Pakistan Economic Relations.
    
It said that poor healthcare infrastructure in both countries can be addressed through private sector initiatives and greater collaboration on common major diseases such as heart, diabetes and cancer.
    
The popularity of films and teledramas from each side is a sound foundation for building closer links in the entertainment sector, it said adding that legal trade and bilateral exchanges could create a better atmosphere for entertainment advancement in both countries.
    
"Release of Indian films in Pakistan and exchange of television content and formats, including the extremely popular Pakistani plays, can wonderfully cement our relationship," the study said.
    
Further, it said that the trade and investment linkages between the countries are critical for the overall relationship and that increased business exchanges would spark greater regional economic cooperation.
    
Currently, the inter-regional trade and investments in 8-nation South Asian nations club of SAARC is lower than those in other regional economic groupings.
    
"Pakistan is India’s third largest export destination and fourth largest source of goods among SAARC countries, which is not commensurate with its status as the second largest member of SAARC," it said.

The study also stressed on other facilitative mechanisms for promoting economic cooperation, such as visas, trade infrastructure, transport linkages and scaling down of tariff and non-tariff barriers.
    
Both the sides should also take steps to ease bilateral investments as well as cooperation in agriculture and energy.
    
Bilateral trade in goods has multiplied tenfold between 2000-01 and 2010-11 to touch USD 2.7 billion.
    
The trade balance is largely in favour of India and there is need to increase imports of goods from Pakistan.     

However, a large volume of trade also takes place through informal channels and through third countries due to restrictions on cross-border movement of goods, the CII study said.
    
Political will on both the sides to progress at removing bottlenecks to trade and legalise cooperation in services shall deepen economic integration and foster prosperity in the region, it added.

(Agencies)