India and Pakistan on Tuesday came together on a SAARC platform, discussing ways to mitigate the impact of the global downturn on the South Asian region, even as the two neighbours have snapped bilateral trade talks after the Mumbai attacks.
As the commerce secretaries of the eight-nation South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) met in New Delhi, officials from both India and Pakistan remained focused on giving a boost to the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) but remained silent on bilateral ties even on the sidelines.
"We are at the moment talking about SAARC. I think it is important to concentrate on the matters in hand ... Multilateral forums are very important and we need to strengthen those," Pakistan Commerce Secretary Suleiman Ghani said when asked about the fate of India-Pakistan trade ties.
Presiding over the meeting of the Committee on Economic Cooperation, Commerce Secretary G K Pillai said, "Our resolve to initiate the review of the sensitive list is a pleasant (happening) in a depressing regional environment."
This is for the first time that trade officials from Pakistan travelled to India after the Mumbai attacks in November.
Officials agreed to work on pruning their sensitive lists to enable increased trade flow under SAFTA.