India and Pakistan signed an agreement over visas Saturday that will make traveling between the two countries easier, an clear easing of tensions between the two rival nations.
The move, which did away with the 38-year-old visa plan that was in place, will add new visa categories, including for pilgrims, senior citizens, and businessmen who make a certain amount of money per year, the Express Tribune reported. The number of cities available for travel visas also increased.
“This is a sign of friendship,” Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik was quoted as saying at a signing ceremony with Indian Foreign Minister S. M. Krishna.
“The biggest thing is that the visa agreement will be of benefit to the common people of both India and Pakistan. There is no loss for anyone in this,” he said, according to the Times of India.
Before the two officials held talks on Friday, Krishna called for renewed action to dissolve the enmity between the two nations.“I bring a message of goodwill from India to the people of Pakistan. I wish to reiterate the desire of India to see a stable and prosperous Pakistan living in peace,” he said, according to the Pakistan-based Daily Times.
Relations between the two countries reached a relative low point in 2008 when Pakistani militants killed more than 160 people in India’s Mumbai. India accused Pakistani officials of supporting the Islamist militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba in the attacks.