Sri Muktsar Sahib (Pb): Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Thursday said his government would start cultural exchange programs with Pakistan to strengthen ties between the countries.

Addressing reporters after presiding over the felicitation ceremony of Pakistan's Federal Minister, Mian Manzoor Ahmad Wattoo,  Badal said the state government was "duty bound" to improve ties with Pakistan so that a new era of mutual trust and cooperation could be ushered in.

For this, cultural exchanges could play a pivotal role as they would encourage interaction among the youth and thaw differences.

He asked Wattoo to impress upon the National Government of Pakistan for sending a delegation of students to educational institutions of the state for promoting mutual trust and goodwill in the region.

Efforts would also be made by the state government to ensure that the bond in the field of sports is made stronger by holding matches of popular games like Kabaddi.

The Chief Minister said opening of trade between both the countries, coupled with the relaxation of visa norms would go a long way in the economic development of the region,
besides promoting the much needed people-to-people contact.

It was high time that the countries, especially the regions of east and west Punjab, came closer for their mutual socio-economic development.

If the present scenario of suspicion and distrust is replaced by love, peace, and goodwill then it would herald an era of economic prosperity and friendship in the Indian subcontinent, which would be beneficial for both the countries, Badal added.


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