Lahore: A common business council aimed at promoting bilateral trade was formed on Tuesday during a business roundtable attended by visiting Indian Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and Pakistani Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.
The business council -- to consist of 10 members from both sides -- will take steps to establish joint industrial zones, hold business conferences and increase trade relations.
The India-Pakistan business roundtable was held under the auspices of the Punjab Board of Investment and Trade.
An agreement between PHD Chambers of Commerce and Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Lahore, aimed at promoting business relations, was also signed during the roundtable.
Badal described the occasion as a historic day, saying "two brothers" had come together to promote trade and business. He said if Pakistani Punjab would take two steps for cooperation, Indian Punjab would take 10 steps.
"Today's world runs on business and both countries will have to work together on the economic front", he said. The delegation from Indian Punjab accompanying him consists of six provincial ministers, industrialists and businessmen aiming to boost trade, Badal said.
"Holding an India-Pakistan business roundtable in Lahore is a welcome step and the two sides of Punjab will have to sit together to plan for a bright future", he said.
In his address, Sharif said wars had pushed Pakistan and India into poverty, hunger and unemployment. History has separated the two countries but also made them neighbours, he remarked.
"Therefore, there is a need to work together for the progress and prosperity of the people in order to change the course of history. "Like good neighbours, India and Pakistan must live together and resolve their issues through mutual negotiations," Sharif said.
Investment and mutual trade can bring the two sides together and it is time to forget the bitterness of the past and plan for the future by strengthening bilateral relations through trade and business, he added.


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