Lahore - High Commissioner of India T.C.A Raghavan has said that India and Pakistan have the potential to become a growth opportunity for each other. Therefore, he said, both countries should take collective measures for mutual benefit.

He was addressing at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry on Friday. The Indian High Commissioner said that we have to move forward and take wider view of the mutual trade. He said that in the recent years, the Indian economy has emerged as one of the fastest growing economies of the world.

He said that trade fairs and exhibitions could play a vital role in enhancing the mutual trade ties. He said that it is a matter of gratification that private sectors of India and Pakistan are holding fairs and exhibitions in each other’s country.

He informed the house that trade volume between India and China is likely to reach $100 billion mark by the end of this year.  He also agreed that hurdles coming in the way of mutual trade should be removed on priority basis.  He said that it is matter of concern that despite having many commonalities between the two countries, we have yet to benefit from each other’s strong areas.

He said that both countries could enhance cooperation in various sectors of economy. He said that there is immense potential in the tourism sector between Pakistan and India, especially religious tourism that has so far just been fractionally exploited.  He said that both countries need to create an environment to let the healthy competition prevail. Pakistan and India are capable of supplementing each other to attain win-win situation.  LCCI President Ijaz Mumtaz said that there are issues prevailing on both sides in the way of normalization of trade links between India and Pakistan. He said that Pakistani government as well as business community fully understands the significance of regional trade which cannot promise any good results until Pakistan and India act with a futuristic approach.  He said that that people to people contacts can play an effective role in dispelling wrong perceptions about each other.  He said that both governments should draw a clear line between political and economic issues. It is high time that trade between both the countries should be given a fair chance to contribute towards peace and prosperity in the region.

It is to be noted that from 2012 to 2013, a noticeable increase was witnessed in the bilateral trade figures. In 2012, the total trade was around USD 1.92 billion which swelled to USD 3.28 billion in 2013. In that period, Pak exports to India increased from USD 348 million to USD 403 million. Similarly, the imports from India have shown increase by reaching to USD 1.87 billion from USD 1.57 billion.

He said that both countries have to put in more efforts to further enhance bilateral trade and for that matter we need to innovate the existing ways of making business deals. Holding single country exhibition has proved to be a successful method. To reciprocate India show being held in Lahore every year, LCCI organized Pakistan show last year in Amritsar. These efforts are certainly contributing in bridging the gaps between private sector representatives across the borders. For holding the Pakistan show in Amritsar, cooperation shown by Indian high commission was commendable.