Amid hostile posturing and escalating cross-border tensions between India and Pakistan, the Indian government has announced three-year multiple visas for Pakistani businessmen with good financial standing and credentials. The move signals the Modi government’s stress on bolstering economic ties as a long-term strategy for normalizing relations with Pakistan.
Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju has said that instructions were issued by the government on July 7 regarding the grant of multiple-entry business visa for a period of up to 3 years to a special category of Pakistani businessmen of assured standing and credentials.
With the latest announcement, Pakistani businessmen are now eligible for a three-year multiple entry business visa and restricted to 15 places.
Mr Rijiju added that the members of SAARC countries are usually given business visa ranging up to five years or shorter depending on the requirement except in the case of Pakistan, Bhutan and Nepal. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced business visas for 3-5 years for SAARC countries during the 18th SAARC summit in Kathmandu in November last year. The step was aimed at improving intra-regional trade between SAARC members.
However, citizens of Bhutan and Nepal do not need a visa to enter India while Pakistani businessmen were eligible for a one-year multiple entry business visa and restricted to 10 places. On being asked about the e-tourist visa facility, Mr Rijiju clarified that as of now the provision is available only to citizens of Sri Lanka and the proposal to extend it to other SAARC countries is a continuous process which will be done after consultation with all stakeholders.
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