Will a liberalised visa agreement boost Indo-Pak ties?

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SM Krishna and Hina Rabbani Khar
Bangalore, Sept 8: Citizens of both India and Pakistan can now look forward to visit their neighbouring countries on a frequent basis.

During his ongoing visit, External Affairs Minister SM Krishna is all set to sign the much-talked about new liberalised visa agreement with his Pakistani counterpart Hina Rabbani Khar. (Read: Visa Agreement Signed)

The visa agreement will also include a group tourism pact. The other part of agreement will have multiple city one-year visas for businessmen and visa-on-arrival for people aged 65 years.

Indo-Pak observers say that agreement is likely to boost people-to-people contact between both the neighbouring countries.

Since long, experts feel that a much lenient visa policy will help people from both the countries to visit each other's places on a regular basis, without any hurdles.

But the question that remains under the shadow of terrorism is: Can both the countries afford to have an unrestricted follow of people?

But Indian security officials and defence analysts would take the entire development with a pinch of salt. They have always maintained that free flow of people from across the border would help terrorists sneak inside borders with greater ease.

However, peaceniks have a different opinion. They feel it is high time India and Pakistan make peace with each other. Regular contact between the two countries, who share almost similar tradition and culture, would only help them come more closer.

Although more than six-decade-long, love-hate relationship between India and Pakistan has seen many ups and downs.

Welcoming the move, a Bangalore-based artist Samima Rahman said that it was high time India and Pakistan bury their past and re-start a fresh new approach in their relationship.

"A liberalised visa policy would only help people of both the countries to know each other more. Unless and until common people don't have easy access to travel, it would be hard to build peace between India and Pakistan, who have always been at loggerheads with each other for several decades now," added Samima.

However, sceptics feel that Pakistan has to stop sponsoring cross-border terrorism to India and punish the guilty of 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.

In fact, the crucial talks between the two foreign ministers on Saturday, Sept 8 started with the issue of terrorism, as they reviewed the second round of resumed dialogue.

According to Indian officials, terrorism would form the core issue to be discussed at Pakistan. Indian delegates would also stress their Pakistani counterparts to do a speedy trial on Mumbai terror attack, and book the perpetrators of the heinous crime.

"No India-Pakistan dialogue can be complete without discussing terrorism. Pakistan sponsored terrorists have inflicted a lot of harm to India and it is a well-known fact," said a senior Indian official.

Other points to be discussed during the ongoing visit of Krishna include those concerning prisoners as well as trade and border issues.

OneIndia News

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