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In yet another casualty of strained ties between India and Pakistan, there will be no Pakistan pavillion at the India International Trade Fair (IITF), which will kick off on November 14.
Sources in the India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO), which organises IITF, said about 126 companies from Pakistan had sent applications to take part in the two-week fair, but later withdrew, citing lack of time.
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An ITPO official said once companies send their applications, they have to be cleared by ministries of External Affairs and Home and Delhi Police. After the clearance, ITPO sends the applicants a letter of recommendation. On receiving the letter, the traders can apply for a visa and once the visa is issued, the process of shipping exhibits starts, said the official.
“The whole process from sending the application to getting the clearances takes three or four months. But this time, because of strained relations (between India and Pakistan), there were lukewarm responses and that led to the delays. But the decision to withdraw was theirs, not ours. They said there was little time left.”
ITPO sources said when Pakistani applications were forwarded to the designated ministries and departments, some queries came up. These were answered in due course and the applicants informed, but the whole process took longer than usual.
The official added that Pakistan has been a regular participant for many years now and this is the first time the country won’t be represented at the event. “Even day before, there were queries from security agencies if Pakistani traders were taking part, but we told them that they were not… there was no time to complete the formalities.”