In an important confidence-building step, India and Pakistan on Friday firmed up a draft of their bilateral visa agreement that will ease travel between the two countries.
Senior officials of India and Pakistan held the second meeting of the Joint Working Group that looked at the modalities for streamlining the visa procedures to spur greater business and people-to-people contacts between the two countries.
The Indian delegation was led by Anil Goswami, Additional Secretary (Foreigners) in the home affairs ministry. The Pakistani delegation was led by Nasar Hayat, additional secretary, ministry of interior.
"The discussions were held in a friendly and cordial atmosphere,” the external affairs ministry said in a statement here.
"The two sides finalised the draft text of the agreement, which will be submitted to the respective governments for obtaining necessary approvals in order to sign the agreement at an early date,” said the ministry.
The draft agreement envisages, among other things, multiple-entry visas for traders and businessmen of the two countries.
During the talks between the foreign ministers of the two countries in June, the two sides had prioritised building strong people-to-people contacts as a key part of their relationship and decided to accelerate their negotiations for concluding a visa agreement.
The finalisation of the visa agreement signals an easing of relations between the two neighbours whose ties had plummeted to a new low following the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack. They decided to resume their peace process early this year.