New Delhi/Islamabad, (IANS) India has aired its disappointment that the much-waited liberalised visa regime agreement could not be signed in Islamabad as the Pakistani officials were yet to complete their procedures.
India’s Home Secretary R.K. Singh concluded two-day talks with his Pakistani counterpart K.M. Siddique Akbar in Islamabad here, but an accord for relaxing the visa regime could not be signed.
India has indicated its disappointment as the proposed visa agreement was an important initiative that could have expanded the constituency of peace by encouraging people-to-people contacts between the two countries.
“We had gone there prepared to sign the document according to what was decided during President Asif Ali Zardari’s visit to India (April 8),” Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai told reporters here.
Both sides had attached great importance to this agreement, he said.
“The Pakistani side has referred to some delays in procedures,” Mathai said to queries about the fate of the visa agreement.
The signing of the agreement, according to informed sources, now can happen during External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna’s visit to Islamabad in July. It can happen earlier also if Home Minister P. Chidambaram decides to visit Islamabad.
The proposed visa regime is likely to include, among other things, tourist visas to either country’s citizens and the issue of visas on arrival at the Wagah-Attari border checkpost for senior citizens and young children.