Dhaka: India on Monday said it has decided to adopt a liberal visa policy for people of Bangladesh to promote economic engagement, people-to-people contact and tourism between the two neighbouring nations. "There is no formal agreement between India and Bangladesh on the visa regime. As a step towards showing India's commitment to joining hands with Dhaka in giving a boost to the economic prosperity of Bangladesh and its people, we have decided to adopt a liberal visa regime," India's Ambassador to Bangladesh Pankaj Saran said.
He was talking to media after the inauguration of the "India Show" organised by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and FICCI in Dhaka. During the Home Secretary level talks in October 2012, both the countries agreed to hold exclusive meeting to work out procedures and modalities at the earliest.
However, India did not wait for joint working group (JWG) to be set up to sort out the issue of liberal visa regime. During his visit to Dhaka in September, 2011, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had said it would take steps to remove trade and non-tariff barriers between India and Bangladesh.
India at present gives nearly 500,000 visas to Bangladesh nationals every year and with a new visa regime in place, this figure is likely to witness a massive hike, Saran said. India has already signed a liberal visa regime with its other neighbour, Pakistan - introducing for the first time group tourist and pilgrim visas, multi-city and multi-entry visa for businessmen.