22 May | 2024

Lahore, Pakistan

India’s diplomat says now diplomacy focuses on tourism, trade and technology

Deputy High Commissioner Suresh Kumar says India always wants better relations with Pakistan; eyes on transit trade with big market of Central Asia

LAHORE: India’s Deputy High Commissioner to Pakistan Suresh Kumar has said that India never halted trade relations with Pakistan and wants to move towards normalizing business ties.

Speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), he stressed that today’s diplomacy focuses on tourism, trade and technology because ‘money speaks its own language’. He said that India always wanted better relations with Pakistan because “we cannot change our geography.”

“We want to move towards ‘normal’ relations with Pakistan. We also didn’t stop trade with Pakistan, as it was Pakistan that did it,” he said, adding that it would be better to see how “we can change our problems and situations.”

He agreed that the number of visas issued by the Indian embassy to Pakistanis dropped during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, he said that the number had now increased, as 30,000 visas were being issued every year, which he said was a huge number.

‘We cannot change our geography but we can change our problems and situations’

Suresh Kumar said the Indian government was also issuing medical and sports visas to Pakistanis. He said that gone were the days when diplomacy used to focus on compiling political reports. He said that India was presently doing trade of $120 billion with China, in which the balance of trade is towards China.

He said that imports are not always wrong and also have advantages. He said the intellectual property had become more important than physical property. “By sitting in distant countries and manufacturing in other countries, Europe is making money due to intellectual property rights,” he said.

He said that the universities in Europe focus on technology. He said transit trade was extremely important as Central Asia was a big market and India needed access to it. Similarly, Central Asia also needed access to India. He said that India was on course to become one of the largest economies.

“Our service sector has grown enormously and now we are focusing on manufacturing, like automobile and electronics manufacturing,” he said. LCCI President Kashif Anwar said it was generally thought that improving economic relations between Pakistan and India was a complex issue that required addressing a range of political economic and social factors.