India, Pakistan primers meet; agree to conduct trade on MFN basis

Addu: Declaring that time has come to write a “new chapter” in the history of two countries, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Thursday said India will move towards Preferential Trade Agreement with Pakistan as both sides agreed that bilateral trade will be conducted on Most Favoured Nation MFN basis, Press Trust of India PTI reported.

During an hour-long meeting on sidelines of 17th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation SAARC Summit here, Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yusuf Raza Gilani decided to put in place a liberalized visa regime at the earliest and revive Indo-Pak Joint Commission that has not been in operation since 2005, report said.

The decision to take bilateral engagement to a new level came in their third meeting in last 18 months after their talks at 2010 SAARC summit in Thimphu when they decided to resume bilateral dialogue.

The two Premiers, who have had meetings on several occasions in last three years, hit it off during their talks at Shangrilla resort here in a beach cottage. After photo opportunity at start of talks, they were joined by their delegations, including the Foreign Ministers, Foreign Secretaries and others. Then one-to-one hour-long interactions started between them.

Singh said he always regarded Gilani as a “man of peace” and that both countries have lost much time in the past in acrimonious debates. “The time has come to write a new chapter in the history of two countries and era of accusations and counter-accusations should be behind us.”

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