LAHORE - Punjab and the Chinese province of Sichuan have decided to renew an agreement to develop relations between the two provinces.

The two governments want to bring a 2006 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU into force. The five year MOU covers agriculture, industry, science and technology and health.

The revival of the MOU is second step taken by the two powerful regions to form a closer alliance. An agreement of sister city relation between Chengdu and Lahore, the capitals of both the provinces, was signed in April this year.

The Lahore administrator, Chengdu Mayor Tang Liangzhi and Deputy Secretary of the CPC Chengdu Municipal Committee signed that agreement. The purpose of the memorandum was to exchange expertise to promote the capital cities.

A Punjab officer said a plan of bilateral exchange and cooperation and to establish sister province relations was now taking place. The outcome will be a mechanism for implementation of agreed projects. Both sides will maintain regular contacts between the designated authorities.

Detailed interaction of Pakistani students with Chinese scholars will be held soon, the officer said.

Official sources said that the foreign office had asked the Punjab chief secretary for a report on the specific areas where cooperation with the Sichuan province was being prepared.

“The foreign affairs department of Sichuan and Commerce and Industry Department of Punjab will do the exercise to materialise the cooperation,” a senior officer in Planning & Development department told The Nation.

According to the official, it was decided that contacts will be made between the two provinces. The officers of both provinces will make regular visits for implementation of the MOU, he added.

As the Punjab government wants to have cooperation in the community development, the sources expect improvement in municipal services delivery in the major cities of Punjab. Moreover, regular visit of the mayors of major cities and chairmen of corporations will also be ensured.