Attari (Punjab), Feb.20 (ANI): Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Saturday said India needs to encourage commerce and trade with its neighbours.
Speaking after the laying the foundation stone of Integrated Check Post (ICP), envisaged to boost trade and commerce between India and Pakistan, at Attari border here on Saturday Chidambaram said: "The 21st century will be driven by trade, commerce, and people travelling from one part to the other. India is not an exception. Hence, to recognize these facts India should encourage trade and commerce with all its neighbours," said Chidambaram.
Indirectly referring to Pakistan, Chidambaram said: "The neighbour in the west is the most important one and there are people living on the either sides of the border who have close family links and trade links, which cannot be ignored."
"India should encourage trade and commerce with all its neighbours. Recognizing that the people from India will visit neighbouring countries, recognizing that the people from other countries will visit India, we have designed the scheme of constructing the ICPs," said Chidambaram.
"In the first phase, we will build 13 ICPs (Integrated Check Posts) at the cost of rupees 6.35 billions. The most important one is the one in Attari and rupees 1.5 billions have already been spent on the project. This will facilitate the passenger traffic and traffic of cargo," said Chidambaram.
"If the passengers are to be treated with dignity, we should have modern facilities and this only possible with these ICPs," he added.
The annual trade across the border amounts to 8 billions and with the construction of the ICP, it is expected to cross this mark.
The number of outgoing and incoming passengers is also likely to rise. By Ravinder Singh RobinANI)