Indian official arrives in Pakistan for trade talks

Khullar will lead the Indian delegation at the official talks in Islamabad April 27 and 28, reported Xinhua.  The Indian commerce secretary arrived via Wagah border checkpost near the eastern city of Lahore, and did not talk to media persons on his arrival.

Pakistani Commerce Secretary Zafar Mehmood will lead his country's delegation. The trade talks were suspended in the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attacks in November 2008.

This is the second high-level interaction between the two countries after the resumption of India-Pakistan dialogue. Home secretaries of the two countries met in New Delhi March 28 and 29. The talks were termed "extremely positive" and in the right direction.

The meeting between Indian Home Secretary G.K. Pillai and his Pakistani counterpart Chaudhry Qamar Zaman was followed by an informal meeting between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on the sidelines of India-Pakistan cricket World Cup semifinal match in Mohali, near Chandigarh.

For the upcoming trade talks, officials said the meeting would try to discuss key outstanding issues affecting bilateral trade and is expected to give boost to trade across the border. 

Bilateral trade is only about $2 billion due to lack of trade ties marred by poor relations between the two countries. The trade balance is mostly in favour of India and Pakistan has been complaining of non-tariff barriers by New Delhi.

Reports say that India has offered to provide cheaper fuel to Pakistan and the issue may be discussed at the two-day talks.

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