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Power and petrol offer awaits Asif Ali Zardari

India is expected to offer power and petroleum products to boost Pakistan's energy-starved industry and dwindling economy when PM Manmohan Singh and President Asif Ali Zardari meet on Sunday. Shishir Gupta reports. Hafiz Saeed is the buzz ahead of visit | Pilgirm's progress: diplomacy of the dargah | Zardari to visit Ajmer |On a wing and a prayer

delhi Updated: Apr 08, 2012 02:07 IST
Shishir Gupta
Shishir Gupta
Hindustan Times
Shishir Gupta,asif ali zardari,manmohan singh

India is expected to offer power and petroleum products to boost Pakistan's energy-starved industry and dwindling economy when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Asif Zardari meet in New Delhi on Sunday.

The opening of the second gate at the Wagah-Attari border on April 13 is also expected to at least double trade with India.

Government sources said that while the one-on-one talks between the two leaders will touch upon several aspects of bilateral ties, New Delhi is expected to offer 500MW (megawatts) of power daily through the Indian northern grid to help Pakistan tackle its energy crisis in the run-up to the national assembly elections next year.

The power ministries of both countries have been discussing the issue for the past five months and New Delhi is willing to supply power by linking up the two Punjab states through the Wagah corridor.

If Pakistan agrees, then a link-up transmission line between the two nations could be established soon.

The Prime Minister is also expected to offer all help to Zardari and son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to boost Pakistan's economy and revive its sick textile and light engineering industry, which is facing power outages.

As Pakistan needs diesel and petroleum products to overcome the crisis, India is likely to export petroleum products to Islamabad through the Wagah border from the Bathinda refinery in Punjab.

The issue was discussed during the Indian petroleum secretary's visit to Pakistan recently.

Trade between the two neighbours will also get a boost from April 13, when the second gate at the Wagah border is opened, dedicated to unrestricted commercial movement.

Right now, land trade is restricted through the one gate at Wagah, which sees elaborate ritualistic opening and closing ceremonies.

New Delhi, by helping out Islamabad in times of economic crisis, wants to remove the trust deficit between the two countries.

It will also hope that Islamabad shows some action on terrorist groups targeting India.

It could also translate into the Zardari government wiping out the negative trade item list totally towards 2012-end and even allowing India to supply food to Afghanistan through the Wagah-Torkham land route.

Working lunch:
Rahul, Bilawal have much to share
Silver rings, bracelets for the Zardaris in Ajmer
Zardari likely to press Manmohan Singh to visit Pakistan
Kebab, biryani in PM's elaborate menu for lunch with Zardari

In photos:
Ajmer gears up for the Zardaris

First Published: Apr 07, 2012 23:58 IST