Pakistan and India strike new visa deal easing travel

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Pakistan's Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar (L) and Indian Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna in Islamabad on 8 September 2012Image source, AFP
Image caption,
The move is part of efforts to improve ties between Islamabad and New Delhi

Pakistan and India have agreed on visa terms aimed at easing travel between the two countries.

The move is part of efforts to improve ties between Islamabad and New Delhi which were badly damaged in 2008 when gunmen attacked Mumbai in India.

The deal came after talks in Islamabad between the Indian and Pakistani foreign ministers.

It makes it easier for businesspeople as well as those with relatives across the border to travel freely.

A visa on arrival scheme has been introduced for senior citizens as well as a new group visa aimed specifically at religious pilgrims, tourists and students.

The BBC's Sanjoy Majumder, in Delhi, says Indians and Pakistanis find it extremely difficult to travel to each other's countries because of tough visa restrictions and the new agreement will be widely welcomed.

There is little else to cheer however after the talks, our correspondent says.

No progress has been made on core issues such as the long running Kashmir dispute or India's demand that key conspirators behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks be brought to justice.

There was also no announcement of a possible visit later this year to Pakistan by the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, something that has long been on the cards but has yet to materialise, our correspondent adds.