"We have an agreed revised visa agreement agreed to by the two interior ministries which provides for very liberalised provisions for businessmen, amongst others. It's our hope that it will be signed by the end of this month when our Interior and Home Secretaries meet," Sabharwal told a conference of businessmen of the two countries here. India had simplified its visa regulations and decisions on all applications were being made in about 30 days, he said while responding to remarks by businessmen.
"We were insisting on a number of documents and so on, we have simplified that. You will see these simplified provisions on the Indian High Commissions website over the next few days," he said. Though most visa applications are dealt with in about 30 days, visas have been issued to Pakistani businessmen "much faster" for about a year, Sabharwal said.
The Home and Interior Secretaries of India and Pakistan are scheduled to meet in Islamabad during May 24-25 for talks on key issues like counter-terrorism and the visa regime between the two countries. According to reports, a decision is expected on issuing multiple-entry and police reporting-free visas for businessmen.
The businessmen will also be allowed to visit five cities, instead of three at present, while the elderly will be exempted from police reporting. The Indian cabinet approved the draft visa agreement last month and Home Minister P Chidambaram has said the pact can be signed "if the Pakistani side is ready".