Business Council to Take Shape
During his maiden visit to Pakistan, Sukhbir Singh Badal, Deputy Chief Minister of Indian Punjab, met with Shahbaz Sharif, Chief Minister of Punjab at the recent India-Pakistan Business Roundtable where the two signed agreements to formalize a common business council, establish joint industrial zones, hold business conferences and increase bilateral trade. This was Badal’s first visit to Pakistan during which he hoped to foster greater economic bonds between India and Pakistan. Most recently, India has also appointed its first Muslim Foreign Minister, a move that is expected to ease tensions between the two countries and promote greater understanding.
Admiring the Indo-Pak friendship, Badal expressed a desire for greater economic and trade partnership between the two neighbors, thus paving the way for regional stability. Shahbaz Sharif deemed the roundtable meetings a welcome step and a major stride in building a stronger relationship. Pakistan recently granted India the status of the Most Favored Nation in trade but this move remains to be implemented. Establishing a common business council reinforces the trust and confidence of both countries to build avenues of growth and development. To establish greater trade ties between SAARC nations, Badal was of the view that Pakistan and India should take reference from the European Union as a model to improve their mutual industrial and trade ties.