New Delhi: India on Thursday said Pakistan should further open up avenues for increasing bilateral trade and eventually accord the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to New Delhi.

"Whatever perceptions that are coming in the way of moving towards further improvement should be addressed by more information and better understanding of the benefits of normalisation," Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma told a a high level Pakistani business delegation here.

Expressing satisfaction over the trade normalisation steps, Sharma said both countries need to continue moving forward towards a non-discriminatory regime.

"Pakistan government has taken some steps to move towards full normalisation of trade relations with India...This process must be taken to its logical end by phasing out the negative list and eventually according MFN status to India," he said.

Sharma said that both the countries should quickly establish at least two bank branches in each other's territory. "We may also look at the possibility of expanding and bringing in some of our private sector banks. We are open to that," he added.

He told leading Pakistani business that Sunil Munjal, Joint Managing Director HeroMotoCorp. has been named as the co-chair of joint business council from the Indian side. Sharma also said that India is keen to open more trade routes between the countries to boost bilateral commerce.

"We are keen on Khokhrapar–Munabao. A Joint Working Group was agreed to be set up. In our state of Punjab, they want to open more border points and also in Rajasthan connecting Sindh. I believe there is a similar desire from the Pakistan side so that other states of Pakistan are also connected," the minister said.

On the visa issue, Sharma said Pakistan should operationalise the process soon for smooth movement of businessmen from both countries.


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