Chandigarh: The states of Punjab in India and Pakistan on Tuesday agreed to constitute a Joint Business Committee for bettering trade ties between them.

The first meeting of the committee constituting politicians, industrialists, traders, progressive farmers and other experts will be held in Amritsar in the first week of December, an official release said here after a meeting between Sukhbir Singh Badal, Deputy Chief Minister of Indian Punjab, with Pakistan Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

Accepting the request of Badal, Sharif consented to be the chief guest in the Joint Business Committee, when he would come to be the chief guest in the finals of third edition of the World Kabaddi Cup.      

Addressing the Pakistan-India Business Round Table, Badal said economics is the name of the game in the 21st century and it can expedite strengthening of ties between India and Pakistan.

He said that 'past is past' and India had been through the learning curve and over the years it has opened its economy to foreign direct investment.      

Badal said there was emotional relationship between the people of the two countries and time has come to build on the mutual strength to further enhance commerce and trade. He said that Punjab with 1.5 per cent geographical area of the country had been contributing 50-60 per cent to national grain pool.

He said after excelling in agriculture, the state is focusing on industrial development and he feels that by improving industrial and trade relations with Pakistan, Punjab industry could benefit a lot.      

Describing opening up of Wagah as a 'turning point' in the history of both countries, Badal said the two were hopeful that by December 31 negative list would be eliminated or drastically reduced, opening new vistas of trade and commerce between both countries.


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