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India overturns ban on Pakistan investments       

Decision to accept foreign direct investment seen as rival neighbours’ push for “trade diplomacy” to normalise ties.



India has reversed its ban on foreign investment from Pakistan in a move designed to build goodwill amid a renewed push for a peace settlement between the nuclear-armed South Asian neighbours.
"The government of India has reviewed the policy… and decided to permit a citizen of Pakistan or an entity incorporated in Pakistan to make investments in India," said a statement from the Indian commerce ministry on Wednesday.
However, no such investments can be made in defence, space or atomic energy, the ministry said.
India and Pakistan, which have fought three wars since independence, are channeling their peace efforts into “trade diplomacy”.
"We welcome this decision,", Pakistani foreign ministry spokesman Moazzam Khan told the AFP news agency.
"It will definitely benefit Pakistani investors and industrialists. We hope this decision will be fruitful for the people of both countries."
Businessmen positive
Pakistani businessmen also welcomed the move.
"We do appreciate this action by the government of India, but what will be more interesting for me is when the Indian authorities lift its ban on Indian investors investing in Pakistan," said Majyd Aziz, involved in the import and export of minerals and in shipping.
"For a better economic future in South Asia, it will be a huge step when businessmen from both the countries can freely invest in each other’s country."
India’s decision to accept foreign direct investment from Pakistan was taken in April when the trade ministers of the South Asian rivals met in New Delhi.
Pictured: India and Pakistan aim to lift bilateral trade to $6bn within three years [EPA]

India overturns ban on Pakistan investments

Decision to accept foreign direct investment seen as rival neighbours’ push for “trade diplomacy” to normalise ties.

India has reversed its ban on foreign investment from Pakistan in a move designed to build goodwill amid a renewed push for a peace settlement between the nuclear-armed South Asian neighbours.

"The government of India has reviewed the policy… and decided to permit a citizen of Pakistan or an entity incorporated in Pakistan to make investments in India," said a statement from the Indian commerce ministry on Wednesday.

However, no such investments can be made in defence, space or atomic energy, the ministry said.

India and Pakistan, which have fought three wars since independence, are channeling their peace efforts into “trade diplomacy”.

"We welcome this decision,", Pakistani foreign ministry spokesman Moazzam Khan told the AFP news agency.

"It will definitely benefit Pakistani investors and industrialists. We hope this decision will be fruitful for the people of both countries."

Businessmen positive

Pakistani businessmen also welcomed the move.

"We do appreciate this action by the government of India, but what will be more interesting for me is when the Indian authorities lift its ban on Indian investors investing in Pakistan," said Majyd Aziz, involved in the import and 
export of minerals and in shipping.

"For a better economic future in South Asia, it will be a huge step when businessmen from both the countries can freely invest in each other’s country."

India’s decision to accept foreign direct investment from Pakistan was taken in April when the trade ministers of the South Asian rivals met in New Delhi.

Pictured: India and Pakistan aim to lift bilateral trade to $6bn within three years [EPA]

Filed under india pakistan asia trade

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India's Power Woes A Classic Story Of Supply, Demand

t might be too early to say what the exact cause of India’s latest massive power outage is, but in its simplest form, it probably has something to do with supply and demand –- not enough of the former and too much of the latter.

The outage, which left more than 670 million of the country’s 1.2 billion people without power, snarled traffic, shut down electric trains and idled some businesses. Indian officials say they are rapidly restoring power, but it’s unclear how soon the situation will be back to normal.

"In India, the power [demand] so far outstrips the supply locally and building new infrastructure is a huge issue," says Anjan Bose, an electrical engineering professor and power grid expert at Washington State University.

"The problem has gotten more acute in terms of building enough supply. The transmission has generally kept up, but the building of new power plants has not," he says.

Regular localized outages, known as load shedding, are common throughout India, as power grid controllers are forced to make cuts to keep the system in balance. As a result, many businesses, hospitals and airports use generators to make up the temporary shortfalls.

Amin Massoud, a senior member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and professor of electrical engineering at the University of Minnesota, has studied India’s power system firsthand. “In a big city like Bangalore, you have a half-hour to 45 minutes of load shedding every day,” he says.

The problem comes even though 40 percent of residences in India have no electricity at all, according to the World Bank.

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Power cut causes major disruption in northern India
A massive power cut has caused disruption across northern India, including in the capital, Delhi.
It hit a swathe of the country affecting more than 300 million people in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan states.
Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said most of the supply had been restored and the rest would be reinstated soon.
It is unclear why the supply collapsed but reports say some states may have been using more power than authorised.
Mr Shinde said he had appointed a committee to inquire into the causes of the blackout, one of the worst to hit the country in more than a decade. The committee will submit its report within 15 days, he said.
The power cut happened at 02:30 local time on Monday (2100 GMT Sunday) after India’s Northern Grid network collapsed.
Mr Shinde told the BBC that he had been informed about the problem at 05:30.
"Within two hours we tried to restore the railways, airport and Delhi Metro services and power supply to essential services, including the railways and hospitals, was restored by 08:00."
The minister said the exact reason for the collapse had not yet been pinpointed but, in the summer, “states try to take more power from the grid” and at the time of the collapse, the grid frequency was “above normal”.
"That is one of the reasons why the grid failed," he said.
By early afternoon, 80% of the supply had been restored, Mr Shinde said.
Pictured: Trains were stranded after the power failure

Power cut causes major disruption in northern India

A massive power cut has caused disruption across northern India, including in the capital, Delhi.

It hit a swathe of the country affecting more than 300 million people in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan states.

Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said most of the supply had been restored and the rest would be reinstated soon.

It is unclear why the supply collapsed but reports say some states may have been using more power than authorised.

Mr Shinde said he had appointed a committee to inquire into the causes of the blackout, one of the worst to hit the country in more than a decade. The committee will submit its report within 15 days, he said.

The power cut happened at 02:30 local time on Monday (2100 GMT Sunday) after India’s Northern Grid network collapsed.

Mr Shinde told the BBC that he had been informed about the problem at 05:30.

"Within two hours we tried to restore the railways, airport and Delhi Metro services and power supply to essential services, including the railways and hospitals, was restored by 08:00."

The minister said the exact reason for the collapse had not yet been pinpointed but, in the summer, “states try to take more power from the grid” and at the time of the collapse, the grid frequency was “above normal”.

"That is one of the reasons why the grid failed," he said.

By early afternoon, 80% of the supply had been restored, Mr Shinde said.

Pictured: Trains were stranded after the power failure

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Brics nations to increase contribution to IMF resources
The Brics economies have said they will increase their contribution to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Brics refers to Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, five of the fastest growing emerging economies in the world.
The move comes as the IMF has been looking to boost its finances to help prevent any future financial crisis.
The Brics nations have also asked for a greater say at the fund.
"These new contributions are being made in anticipation that all the reforms agreed upon in 2010 will be fully implemented in a timely manner, including a comprehensive reform of voting power and reform of quota shares," the Brics economies said in a statement on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Mexico.
The nations added that they expect their contributions would be used only after the existing resources had been “substantially utilised”.
Pictured: The IMF has been seeking the help of emerging economies to boost its resources

Brics nations to increase contribution to IMF resources

The Brics economies have said they will increase their contribution to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Brics refers to Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, five of the fastest growing emerging economies in the world.

The move comes as the IMF has been looking to boost its finances to help prevent any future financial crisis.

The Brics nations have also asked for a greater say at the fund.

"These new contributions are being made in anticipation that all the reforms agreed upon in 2010 will be fully implemented in a timely manner, including a comprehensive reform of voting power and reform of quota shares," the Brics economies said in a statement on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Mexico.

The nations added that they expect their contributions would be used only after the existing resources had been “substantially utilised”.

Pictured: The IMF has been seeking the help of emerging economies to boost its resources

Filed under IMF russia brazil india china south africa BRICS financial crisis

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Wasting Away: An Earth Day Look At Living Among Garbage

This Earth Day, the Environmental Protection Agency is focusing on environmental justice, the “fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people” when it comes to environmental regulations and policies.

Around the globe, waste can tell both an environmental and social story. Follow the link for some reports of communities living in, among and off of others’ trash.

Filed under earth day health india haiti mexico venezuela poverty

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India to test nuclear-capable missile that could hit Beijing
Weapon is latest stage of military buildup to counter perceived threat from China
India is to test-launch a new nuclear-capable missile that for the first time would give it the capability of hitting the major Chinese cities of Beijing and Shanghai.
The Agni-V missile, with a range of 5,000km (3,100 miles), will thrust the emerging Asian power into an elite club of nations with intercontinental nuclear defence capabilities and challenge China's regional dominance.
A launch had been scheduled for Wednesday night, but was deferred because of poor weather conditions.
Currently only the permanent members of the UN Security Council – China, France, Russia, the US and Britain – have such long-range weapons.

"It will be a quantum leap in India’s strategic capability," said Ravi Gupta, spokesman for India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation, which built the missile.
The longest-range missile that India possesses at present, the Agni-III, has a range of only 3,500km and falls short of many major Chinese cities.
India and China fought a war in 1962 and continue to nurse a border dispute. India has also been suspicious of Beijing’s efforts to increase its influence in the Indian Ocean in recent years.
"While China doesn’t really consider India any kind of a threat or any kind of a rival, India definitely doesn’t think in the same way," said Rahul Bedi, a defence analyst in New Delhi.
India already has the capability of hitting anywhere inside archrival Pakistan, but has engaged in a splurge of defence spending in recent years to counter the perceived Chinese threat.
Pictured:A schematic of India’s Agni V long-range missile. Photograph: Reuters

India to test nuclear-capable missile that could hit Beijing

Weapon is latest stage of military buildup to counter perceived threat from China

India is to test-launch a new nuclear-capable missile that for the first time would give it the capability of hitting the major Chinese cities of Beijing and Shanghai.

The Agni-V missile, with a range of 5,000km (3,100 miles), will thrust the emerging Asian power into an elite club of nations with intercontinental nuclear defence capabilities and challenge China's regional dominance.

A launch had been scheduled for Wednesday night, but was deferred because of poor weather conditions.

Currently only the permanent members of the UN Security Council – China, France, Russia, the US and Britain – have such long-range weapons.

"It will be a quantum leap in India’s strategic capability," said Ravi Gupta, spokesman for India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation, which built the missile.

The longest-range missile that India possesses at present, the Agni-III, has a range of only 3,500km and falls short of many major Chinese cities.

India and China fought a war in 1962 and continue to nurse a border dispute. India has also been suspicious of Beijing’s efforts to increase its influence in the Indian Ocean in recent years.

"While China doesn’t really consider India any kind of a threat or any kind of a rival, India definitely doesn’t think in the same way," said Rahul Bedi, a defence analyst in New Delhi.

India already has the capability of hitting anywhere inside archrival Pakistan, but has engaged in a splurge of defence spending in recent years to counter the perceived Chinese threat.

Pictured:A schematic of India’s Agni V long-range missile. Photograph: Reuters

Filed under india asia nuclear weapons

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Pakistani president visits Indian shrine after talks with PM
Asif Ali Zardari discusses trade, security and Kashmir with Manmohan Singh and spends an hour at saint’s tomb
Asif Ali Zardari made a pilgrimage to a Muslim shrine on Sunday during the first visit by a Pakistani president to India for seven years.

With his 23-year-old son Bilawal and a large entourage, Zardari spent an hour at the tomb of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, a 12th-century saint, in the desert city of Ajmer, 250 miles south-east of Delhi. He left draped in a red and gold tinsel cloak and turban.
Hours earlier, over lunch in the capital, India’s prime minister, Manmohan Singh, asked Zardari to pray for peace between the two countries.
Although the flying visit resulted in nothing more solid than warm words and an invitation for Singh to visit Pakistan, western diplomats described it as “good news after a lot of grim news” and said it held out the prospect of a real breakthrough in relations between the nuclear-armed neighbours, which have fought three wars since gaining independence from Britain in 1947.
Washington and European powers have made repeated efforts to nudge India and Pakistan towards settling their differences in recent years, recognising that a lasting peace is crucial to stabilising the region and particularly Afghanistan.
The Pakistani security establishment has long protected or even aided a variety of paramilitary militant groups to counterbalance India’s much larger conventional forces, and is widely suspected of helping Afghan militants in their fight against Nato forces in Afghanistan in an attempt to secure sufficient leverage to deny Delhi influence there.
With most NATO combat forces preparing to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014 at the latest, improving relations between Islamabad and Delhi has become an urgent priority. One diplomat said: “It’s been the mirage in the desert. It has never got any closer however much effort has been made to get there. Let’s hope this time perhaps it’s for real.”
Manoj Joshi, a Delhi-based security analyst and journalist, said the visit went beyond symbolism. “Historically, whenever things have been stuck, they have eventually got unblocked. Both [leaders] are keen on a peace agenda and this [kind of meeting] means they can get together informally without the pressure of coming up with any solution,” Joshi said.
Pictured: Asif Ali Zardari, centre, at the shrine to the Sufi saint Khwaja Moninuddin Chisti in Ajmer, India. Photograph: Raveendran/AFP/Getty Images

Pakistani president visits Indian shrine after talks with PM

Asif Ali Zardari discusses trade, security and Kashmir with Manmohan Singh and spends an hour at saint’s tomb

Asif Ali Zardari made a pilgrimage to a Muslim shrine on Sunday during the first visit by a Pakistani president to India for seven years.

With his 23-year-old son Bilawal and a large entourage, Zardari spent an hour at the tomb of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti, a 12th-century saint, in the desert city of Ajmer, 250 miles south-east of Delhi. He left draped in a red and gold tinsel cloak and turban.

Hours earlier, over lunch in the capital, India’s prime minister, Manmohan Singh, asked Zardari to pray for peace between the two countries.

Although the flying visit resulted in nothing more solid than warm words and an invitation for Singh to visit Pakistan, western diplomats described it as “good news after a lot of grim news” and said it held out the prospect of a real breakthrough in relations between the nuclear-armed neighbours, which have fought three wars since gaining independence from Britain in 1947.

Washington and European powers have made repeated efforts to nudge India and Pakistan towards settling their differences in recent years, recognising that a lasting peace is crucial to stabilising the region and particularly Afghanistan.

The Pakistani security establishment has long protected or even aided a variety of paramilitary militant groups to counterbalance India’s much larger conventional forces, and is widely suspected of helping Afghan militants in their fight against Nato forces in Afghanistan in an attempt to secure sufficient leverage to deny Delhi influence there.

With most NATO combat forces preparing to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014 at the latest, improving relations between Islamabad and Delhi has become an urgent priority. One diplomat said: “It’s been the mirage in the desert. It has never got any closer however much effort has been made to get there. Let’s hope this time perhaps it’s for real.”

Manoj Joshi, a Delhi-based security analyst and journalist, said the visit went beyond symbolism. “Historically, whenever things have been stuck, they have eventually got unblocked. Both [leaders] are keen on a peace agenda and this [kind of meeting] means they can get together informally without the pressure of coming up with any solution,” Joshi said.

Pictured: Asif Ali Zardari, centre, at the shrine to the Sufi saint Khwaja Moninuddin Chisti in Ajmer, India. Photograph: Raveendran/AFP/Getty Images

Filed under india pakistan asia

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India’s Census: Lots Of Cellphones, Too Few Toilets

India’s once-a-decade census has turned up some striking numbers: The population grew this past decade by 181 million — that’s the total population of Brazil. India now has more than 1.2 billion people and is on track to overtake China as the world’s most populous nation in 2030.

India’s rapid economic growth — and its long-standing poverty — are also reflected in the census. More than half of all Indian households now have cellphones, but fewer than half have toilets.

The government began releasing the data last month, and it shows a country where the middle-class is expanding rapidly.

That is, no doubt, a promising sign, says Bhuvana Anand from the Center for Civil Society, an independent nongovernmental organization in New Delhi.

"Does growth really trickle down? I think this is the start of that," Anand says. "And access to basic products, or access to aspirational products, is usually the first signal of that kind of thing happening."

Pictured: An Indian boy carries empty canisters to be filled at a water depot in a New Delhi slum. Data from India’s latest census shows that although millions of Indians have access to technology such as TVs and cellphones, many millions more still lack basic amenities such as sanitation and water.  Kevin Frayer/AP

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India government responds bluntly to anti-nuclear push
In response to villagers’ concerns about the Kudankulam nuclear plant project, Indian officials have deported a sympathizer and cracked down on charities they accuse of aiding anti-nuclear efforts.
Reporting from Idinthakarai, India— The fishermen, farmers and cigarette rollers sitting on mats in front of the St. Lourdes Church had a few demands: Halt work on the nearby Kudankulam nuclear power plant. Answer our questions. Convince us the technology is safe.
Their concern was hardly unusual: Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster a year ago this month stirred up safety worries worldwide.
A bit more unusual, though, has been the Indian government’s response to villagers in this hot, dusty southern fishing hamlet.
Late last month in an American science journal, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh accused U.S. and Scandinavian civic groups of funding the protests to hold back India’s development.
That accusation was an apparent cue for the Indian security establishment, which then arrested and deported a German visitor traveling in the area on a tourist visa, accusing him of funding the Kudankulam protests.
Government officials also initiated an investigation of the finances of church and rural charities, alleging that the groups were illegally diverting to protests funds meant for orphans and anti-leprosy programs. Three of the groups’ operating licenses were canceled, bank accounts were frozen, and the visa was revoked for a Fukushima-area resident invited to India by Greenpeace to speak about Japan’s nuclear disaster.
In the latest move last week, a ruling party lawmaker demanded full surveillance and monitoring of all foreign money going to about 65,500 Indian charities — which amounted to about $6.5 billion between 2007 and 2010 — in what some critics are calling a “witch hunt.”
The dramatic reaction, political analysts say, points to the growing frustration of a government battered by corruption scandals, a weakening economy, high inflation and setbacks in state elections.
Pictured: Villagers from Idinthakarai, India, gather to protest against the Kudankulam nuclear power plant being built nearby. (Mark Magnier, Los Angeles Times / March 17, 2012)

India government responds bluntly to anti-nuclear push

In response to villagers’ concerns about the Kudankulam nuclear plant project, Indian officials have deported a sympathizer and cracked down on charities they accuse of aiding anti-nuclear efforts.

Reporting from Idinthakarai, India— The fishermen, farmers and cigarette rollers sitting on mats in front of the St. Lourdes Church had a few demands: Halt work on the nearby Kudankulam nuclear power plant. Answer our questions. Convince us the technology is safe.

Their concern was hardly unusual: Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster a year ago this month stirred up safety worries worldwide.

A bit more unusual, though, has been the Indian government’s response to villagers in this hot, dusty southern fishing hamlet.

Late last month in an American science journal, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh accused U.S. and Scandinavian civic groups of funding the protests to hold back India’s development.

That accusation was an apparent cue for the Indian security establishment, which then arrested and deported a German visitor traveling in the area on a tourist visa, accusing him of funding the Kudankulam protests.

Government officials also initiated an investigation of the finances of church and rural charities, alleging that the groups were illegally diverting to protests funds meant for orphans and anti-leprosy programs. Three of the groups’ operating licenses were canceled, bank accounts were frozen, and the visa was revoked for a Fukushima-area resident invited to India by Greenpeace to speak about Japan’s nuclear disaster.

In the latest move last week, a ruling party lawmaker demanded full surveillance and monitoring of all foreign money going to about 65,500 Indian charities — which amounted to about $6.5 billion between 2007 and 2010 — in what some critics are calling a “witch hunt.”

The dramatic reaction, political analysts say, points to the growing frustration of a government battered by corruption scandals, a weakening economy, high inflation and setbacks in state elections.

Pictured: Villagers from Idinthakarai, India, gather to protest against the Kudankulam nuclear power plant being built nearby. (Mark Magnier, Los Angeles Times / March 17, 2012)

Filed under india asia nuclear power protests

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Congress setback in crucial India Uttar Pradesh polls
India’s governing Congress party has suffered a major setback in elections in the politically crucial state of Uttar Pradesh.
Congress party star Rahul Gandhi conceded defeat when it became clear that the regional Samajwadi Party had won a clear majority in the state.
Congress had disappointing results in three other states, winning a clear majority only in Manipur.
These polls are seen as a litmus test for national elections due by 2014.
Congress had hoped that the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty would deliver a victory in Uttar Pradesh that would revive the flagging fortunes of India’s ruling party, dogged by high inflation, a slowdown in economic growth and allegations of corruption.
Samajwadi took at least 220 seats out of the 403 in Uttar Pradesh’s legislative assembly, while Congress languished in fourth with fewer than 30.
Pictured: Samajwadi Party supporters are already celebrating

Congress setback in crucial India Uttar Pradesh polls

India’s governing Congress party has suffered a major setback in elections in the politically crucial state of Uttar Pradesh.

Congress party star Rahul Gandhi conceded defeat when it became clear that the regional Samajwadi Party had won a clear majority in the state.

Congress had disappointing results in three other states, winning a clear majority only in Manipur.

These polls are seen as a litmus test for national elections due by 2014.

Congress had hoped that the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty would deliver a victory in Uttar Pradesh that would revive the flagging fortunes of India’s ruling party, dogged by high inflation, a slowdown in economic growth and allegations of corruption.

Samajwadi took at least 220 seats out of the 403 in Uttar Pradesh’s legislative assembly, while Congress languished in fourth with fewer than 30.

Pictured: Samajwadi Party supporters are already celebrating

Filed under asia elections india parliament

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India state elections: Counting begins

Indian election officials are counting votes in five states where crucial assembly elections have been held.

Counting in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Manipur and Goa began at 08:00 (02:30 GMT).

Definite trends are expected to emerge quickly and all results are expected to be in by later on Tuesday.

The polls are seen as a litmus test ahead of national elections, due in 2014, and are seen as a test for the Congress party-led central government.

The government’s credibility has been eroded in the past few months due to a series of corruption allegations. If the party does well in elections, correspondents say its leadership will be boosted.

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Pakistan phases out most Indian import restrictions
Pakistan will phase out restrictions on most imports from India by December 2012, the government has announced.
The move is part of a pledge made last year to liberalise trade with India.
Analysts say the decision was expected and reflects weakening opposition to trade ties with India by the military and the right-wing religious lobby.
Formal trade between the countries is worth $2.7bn a year, while informal trade, by way of smuggling, is believed to be three times that, experts say.
The BBC’s M Ilyas Khan in Islamabad says the decision marks a major shift in relations between the nuclear-armed neighbours. It means that anything from India can now be imported into Pakistan, except for 1,200 items which have been put on a “negative list”.
Earlier, Pakistani traders were allowed to import only about 2,000 items from India.
Pictured: Trade between India and Pakistan is gradually increasing after years of mutual suspicion

Pakistan phases out most Indian import restrictions

Pakistan will phase out restrictions on most imports from India by December 2012, the government has announced.

The move is part of a pledge made last year to liberalise trade with India.

Analysts say the decision was expected and reflects weakening opposition to trade ties with India by the military and the right-wing religious lobby.

Formal trade between the countries is worth $2.7bn a year, while informal trade, by way of smuggling, is believed to be three times that, experts say.

The BBC’s M Ilyas Khan in Islamabad says the decision marks a major shift in relations between the nuclear-armed neighbours. It means that anything from India can now be imported into Pakistan, except for 1,200 items which have been put on a “negative list”.

Earlier, Pakistani traders were allowed to import only about 2,000 items from India.

Pictured: Trade between India and Pakistan is gradually increasing after years of mutual suspicion

Filed under pakistan india asia trade

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India strike: Millions expected to take part
Millions of Indian workers are expected to join a strike against high inflation and to demand better working conditions and an end to selling off state firms.
The strike has the support of most of India’s major trade unions and thousands of smaller unions from across the political spectrum.
Banks, transport, post offices and ports are thought most likely to be affected by the industrial action.
But services on India’s rail network are not expected to be disrupted.
Although India’s inflation rate dropped from 9.1% in December, it remains stubbornly high at 7.5%.
Growth for the financial year ending in March is also expected to be around 7%, lower than the previous forecasts of about 9%.
The government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is trying to cut its budget deficit by selling stakes in state-run companies - something the unions object to.
Other demands include measures to curb inflation, universal social security cover for non-unionised workers and enforcement of labour laws.
Pictured: Unions want universal social security cover for workers in India’s vast unorganised labour sector

India strike: Millions expected to take part

Millions of Indian workers are expected to join a strike against high inflation and to demand better working conditions and an end to selling off state firms.

The strike has the support of most of India’s major trade unions and thousands of smaller unions from across the political spectrum.

Banks, transport, post offices and ports are thought most likely to be affected by the industrial action.

But services on India’s rail network are not expected to be disrupted.

Although India’s inflation rate dropped from 9.1% in December, it remains stubbornly high at 7.5%.

Growth for the financial year ending in March is also expected to be around 7%, lower than the previous forecasts of about 9%.

The government of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is trying to cut its budget deficit by selling stakes in state-run companies - something the unions object to.

Other demands include measures to curb inflation, universal social security cover for non-unionised workers and enforcement of labour laws.

Pictured: Unions want universal social security cover for workers in India’s vast unorganised labour sector

Filed under india asia labor strikes labor reforms