New Delhi: The recently concluded visit of the Indian Commerce Minister Anand Sharma to Pakistan has prepared the ground for taking bilateral relations between the two countries to a new height. If no fresh thaw appears between the countries, the month of March is likely to witness three major pacts to enhance trade and commerce.

Both the countries are likely to sign pacts for opening branches of their banks in other country, export of petro products and simplified visa procedure for businessmen. Also, India may announce removal of some of the items from the list of prohibited items for import from Pakistan.

PNB to open branch in Pakistan

Both the countries may agree in March to allow their banks to open branches in other’s country. The two countries have already agreed at the policy level and India’s Punjab National Bank and Pakistan’s State Bank of Pakistan will be permitted to open their branches in other country. A team of the State Bank of Pakistan will visit India in the first week of March to finalise the issue with the Reserve Bank of India.

Businessmen to get Multiple-entry visa

Both India and Pakistan will grant multi-entry visas to businessmen. Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Pakistan’s Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Karachi Chamber of Commerce will be nominated as representatives of respective countries and upon their recommendations, the businessmen will get multiple-entry visa for three years.

India to supply power to Pakistan

A team of experts from both the countries are scheduled to meet in Lahore for co-operation in the power sector. The sources suggest that the two countries will reach a comprehensive agreement on the issue. So far they have agreed that Pakistan will purchase Diesel from India.  Also, a separate power grid will be built in Amritsar especially to supply power to Pakistan. After the signing of deal, India would supply 500 MW power to Pakistan.

More imports on cards

After Pakistan’s December 2012 announcement of opening imports of all the items from India, it’s India‘s turn to come up with a positive step. Indian Commerce Minister Anand Sharma declared during his Pakistan visit that 30 percent items will be removed from the export ban list as soon as Pakistan grants MFN status to India.

Jai Prakash Ranjan/ JPN