India on Wedensday asked Pakistan to do the needful to take the trade normalisation dialogue between the two countries forward.
“Until such time as there is political will to implement the required measures, it is difficult to see how we can move forward on any front. The desire is certainly there on both sides, especially at the business level,” Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh said during her talk on Normalising India-Pakistan Trade at ICRIER here on Wednesday.
Urging Pakistan to take the necessary steps on the measures agreed by both the governments, Singh said while India had always responded to their demands swiftly, Pakistan had failed to return the favour.
“It requires Pakistan to take the first step as specified, in order to trigger the subsequent actions that have been agreed to by both sides,” she said, adding that “trade and terrorism are incompatible” and Pakistan should create an environment in which both were viewed separately.
Rejecting Pakistan’s claims that India’s ”non-tariff barriers” acted as a hindrance to trade, the foreign secretary said: “While it is true India must take more steps to liberalise its external sector, it can be no one’s serious argument that the lack of flight connections between Delhi and Lahore, the visa regime operating between the two countries, or India’s quality and safety certification procedures that are accepted around the world, are in some way aimed at creating a regime of non-tariff barriers against Pakistan-made goods.”
On allowing more goods to be imported from Pakistan through the Attari-Wagah land border stations, Singh said it should be done immediately, as was agreed by both sides in September 2012.
At present, only 137 items are traded through the Attari-Wagah border.
She also asked Pakistan to develop its infrastructure at the Attari-Wagah land border similar to what India had done in April 2012 when a swanky-new integrated check-post was opened for trade at Attari.
Singh said while India has taken several measures to normalise trade with Pakistan, the latter had not reciprocated with the same enthusiasm even after a new government took over in May last year.
Pakistan had recently suspended cross-border trade and the bus service between the two countries after India took into custody a truck plying from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) allegedly carrying narcotics.