Lahore/Chandigarh, November 6, 2012: The Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal today advocated strengthening trade and commerce ties between India and Pakistan as these could be catalytic in opening most difficult barriers between two brother countries.
Speaking at the official luncheon meeting hosted by Chief Minister of Easter Punjab Province Shahbaz Sharif here at his residence today, Badal said that India and Pakistan are like two brothers, who cannot remain separate from each other and would have to complement each-other economically to strengthen trade and industrial relations between both nations. He said that we have our own strengths in certain areas of business and we are fully aware of preferences of our Pak brothers. He said that time has come that we should focus on boosting trade between both countries and open all channels to strengthen such ties.
In an emotionally choked voice, Badal said that the moment I entered in Pakistan, it was the most unforgettable moment in my life. He said that we have same systems, same cultures and the fact is no body can separate two brothers whatsoever differences between them may be.
Advocating greater trade ties between SAARC countries, Badal said that India and Pakistan must learn from European Union experiment and take steps to boost mutual industrial and trade ties keeping aside the differences amongst us. He said that once we boost trade, it would usher in prosperity and become propelling factor in opening most difficult barriers standing between us since last 65 years.
Offering the total cooperation of Punjab in giving technical support to Easter Punjab in power, renewable energy besides providing latest research inputs in Agriculture sector, Badal said that Punjab Government has taken substantial initiatives in Thermal Power by adding 3920 MW generation capacity, 600 MW in Biomass plants, 500 MW in solar projects and also generating power from Urban Solid Waste. He said the Punjab could provide latest know-how to Easter Punjab in Power sector to solve the chronic power shortage in Eastern Punjab. He said that Punjab has also developed a new technology to generate hydro power from low falls and it could be quite useful to Eastern Punjab. He said that if Government of India approves then our state that is going to become Power surplus next year could export power to Pakistan. He said that there was lot of potential in boosting potato and vegetable export to Pakistan.
Inviting Shahbaz Sharif, CM Eastern Punjab, to be Chief Guest in ensuing World Cup Kabaddi, Badal said that Indo-Pak games could be a uniting factor for both the countries.
Stressing upon the need for bilateral talks to solve issues between both countries, Eastern Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said that despite our differences there was a greater scope to increase business between both the countries. He said that India had also fought with China but trade between India and China has reached 16 billion $ whereas trade between India and Pakistan was meager 1.5 billon $. He said that we must sink our differences and focus on boosting trade between both countries. Sharif said that why should we adopt circuitous route of Mumbai Karachi that raise the prices of inputs due to extra carriage cost when we can directly import through Wagah border.
The Ministers of both sides shared their experiences about their own departments and felt that both Punjabs’ have to move together and supplement each others efforts.
Speaking on the occasion Bikram Singh Majithia spoke in detail about efforts made by Punjab Government in Renewable Energy sector and said that besides generating 600 MW power form biomass, Punjab was concentrating on Solar Energy and doing research to decrease its cost.
Education Minister Sikander Singh Maluka said that the Punjab Government has taken novel initiatives in strengthening primary education besides improving computer literacy amongst the students.
Anil Joshi, Industry and Technical Education Minister, while speaking about Industrial Policy to attract 1 lakh crore investment said that Technical Education Department was fully geared up to provide trained human resource backup to upcoming industry in the state.
Speaker Punjab Assembly Rana Mohammad Iqbal, Education Minister Mujtaba Sujaho Rehman, Parvez Malik, Member National Assembly, Senator Parvez Rashid, Advisor to CM Punjab Begum Zakia Shahnawaz also shared experiences of their own departments.
Earlier Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal presented a gold engraving of Sri Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple) to Eastern Punjab CM. Shahbaz Sharif also presented a antique painting to Sukhbir Singh Badal.
Whole Cabinet of Eastern Punjab Province was present to welcome Punjab Deputy Chief Minister and his Cabinet colleagues as they felt that opening a new chapter in ties between two Punjab would be the game changer for whole region.