US pitches for better economic ties between India, Pakistan

New Delhi, Mar 6: The US today pitched for better economic ties between India and Pakistan, saying normalisation of trade between the two countries will result in greater connectivity and stability in the Asian region.

In an address at the American Centre here, US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal said her government wants India's greater trade footprint in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar to ensure prosperity in the region.

Biswal, a second generation US immigrant, said the American government would encourage India to normalise business links with Pakistan. She said despite "political courage" shown by the leadership of the two countries over the past few years, annual bilateral trade volume between the two neighbours was just over USD 2.5 billion in 2013.

It could "easily grow" to USD 10 billion, she said. "Pakistan can play a critical role by granting non- discriminatory market access to India, and India can reduce non-tariff barriers to increase trade between the two countries," she said, delivering a lecture on 'India and US: Our economic opportunity in tomorrow's Asia'.

India's greater economic activities in Central and South East Asia will create new incentives for peace, which is good for both American as well as Indian people, Biswal said. On business environment in India, the US official said there was need for transparency in its tax policies and commitment for strengtheing protection of intellectual property rights.

"Equally important is the need for transparency in India's tax policies, timely regulatory approvals and contract enforcement, and a commitment to strengthening protection of intellectual property rights," Biswal noted.

Lauding India's recently announced visa-on-arrival programme, she said this decision along with US Global Entry programmme will help enhance the way real-time business will be conducted between the nations.


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