RAWALPINDI - Indian High Commissioner Gautam Bambawala paid a visit to the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) here on Friday. He was accompanied by first secretary S Raghuran.

RCCI President Mian Humayun Parvez, senior vice president Saqib Rafiq, vice president Muhammad Aqil Obaid, former senior vice president Raja Amer Iqbal, secretary general Irfan Manan, members of the executive committee and a large number of traders and industrialists were also present on the occasion.

In his address, the Indian high commissioner said that this is his first visit to Rawalpindi. He said, “I am very happy for the warm welcome received here and I always receive love and warm welcome in Pakistan.”He said there were tremendous opportunities to improve the trade relations between the two countries. To improve these ties, visa facility is being made easy and maximum facilities are being provided to traders. “Frequent visitors and big traders are been offered 3-year multiple visa and others are getting 2-year and one year multiple visa based on grading,” he claimed.

The trade volume between the two countries is very low and this has to be enhanced, he said, adding that two countries should move forward and peace process can be flourished through economic corridor. “India is a big market and like Bangladesh and Sri lanka Pakistan can get benefit from it,” he further said.

Gautam Bambawala said the business community wants an ease in political relations between the two countries as it is in favor of the masses of the both countries. “Prices of necessary goods can be reduced once the trade volume increased. This will ultimately help the common man,” he added.

He referred to China-India relations, and said that in 2000 the trade volume between India and China was just 1 billion dollars and now it had reached 75 billion dollars. “We should take this as an example,” he said. He appreciated the different suggestions provided by traders, like drop box facility, police reporting and age relaxation of aged person from 65 to 60.

In his welcome address, RCCI president said that the trade volume between the two countries is about 2.4 billion dollars and it is very low. He said that Pakistan’s exports to India amounted to $402.7 million or 1.6% of its overall exports. This has to be increased and suggested that exchange of delegations is important, he said, adding that single country exhibitions can be a great source of introducing products in each other’s market, he said. A presentation was also given to high commissioner related to the RCCI upcoming and events.