India and Pakistan fail to reach liberal visa agreement

India and Pakistan fail to reach liberal visa agreement

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The eagerly awaited and the widely expected agreement between India and Pakistan for the relaxed visa could not be signed. But it has been decided that the feasibility of establishing hotline between the two Home/Interior Secretaries would be explored.

India had come prepared for signing the agreement that provides for group tourism visa, visa on arrival for the elderly and children and easier business visas. Pakistan from the first day on May 24, 2012 indicated that it was in agreement with all that was jointly decided at the earlier meetings. But now it said that it needed more time.

In May 25 it became clear that the visa agreement will not be signed and Pakistan Interior Minister told the journalists that the visa regime will not be signed in this meeting. Pakistan even indicated that it would prefer the agreement to be inked at the political level and that the Minister would be glad if the home minister P Chidambaram would come to Pakistan to sign the agreement.

A joint statement was issued which said, “Both sides welcomed the finalisation of the visa agreement and agreed to sign it at an early date”. Apart from the visa agreements, negotiations were also initiated on the MLAT.