India, Pakistan banks to cross borders

January 19, 2014 - 7:13:00 am
New Delhi: India and Pakistan yesterday decided to take a few more steps by the end of next month to normalise trade. This includes opening of bank branches in each other’s country.

After talks here, trade ministers of the two countries agreed also to facilitate commerce over land by keeping the Attari-Wagha border open 24 hours throughout the year. 

“Central banks of the two countries in principle have agreed to give banking licences to banks nominated by respective governments,” Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said at a joint press conference with Khurram Dastagir Khan, Pakistan’s commerce minister.

Earlier reports said the two neighbours were working on allowing three banks to set up branches on each others’ soil to help improve business relations.

The talks which took place after a gap of 16 months, however, did not yield Pakistan formally according the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India.

Both Ministers voiced the commitment of their governments to provide what they called Non-Discriminatory Market Access (NDMA) to each nation’s goods and services to establish normal trading.

“Let us not (get) stranded on nomenclature,” said the Pakistan minister when asked about MFN.