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'Softer visa polices can promote tourism in South Asia'

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

New Delhi: South Asian nations need to work on liberalising the visa regime to promote intra-regional tourism and explore business opportunities in this region, a senior official said today.

"There was a need to liberalise the visa regime within the South Asian region to promote intra-regional tourism... India and Pakistan do not grant tourist visas to citizens of either country. This needs to change in order to open up a major business opportunity," Joint Secretary in the Department of Commerce Arvind Mehta said.

He was speaking at the seminar on 'Opportunities for Cooperation in Services in South Asia' organised by CII.

In order to facilitate connectivity in the SAARC region, he suggested member countries must push for a motor vehicles agreement.

Commerce Minister of Bangladesh Tofail Ahmed, who spoke on the occasion, saw health care sector would be an important area for collaboration between India and Bangladesh.

"Healthcare, tourism and IT were uniformly seen as the areas where countries in the South Asian region could cooperate and collaborate," Ahmed said.

Minister of State for Economic Development of Maldives Abdul Latheef Mohamed sought cooperation from India in areas including healthcare, construction and IT.

Ambassador of Afghanistan to India Shaida Mohammad Abdali too spoke on similar lines.

Hameed Akhtar Chadda, Vice-President, Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry, impressed upon the audience the need to facilitate movement of technical manpower within the region to promote the services sector.

Source: PTI

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