Promising to take relations between east and west Punjab, located in India and Pakistan respectively, to a new high, the chief ministers of both states Saturday announced that a protocol agreement would be signed to identify mutual areas of interest and cooperation.
Indian Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his Pakistan Punjab counterpart Shahbaz Sharif will sign the agreement in Ludhiana Sunday.
A high level committee of officers and vice chancellors of Punjab Agriculture University - both at Ludhiana and Faisalabad (in Pakistan), besides Guru Angad Dev Veterinary Sciences University at Ludhiana, has been set up by both chief ministers to finalize the terms and conditions of agreement, a Punjab government spokesman said here.
Shahbaz Sharif, the younger brother of Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who is currently visiting Punjab, mooted the proposal of a protocol agreement during deliberations held at the Punjab Agriculture University (PAU) here to which Badal responded positively.
"Both governments agreed to encourage people to people contact as part of this protocol exercise besides cooperating with each other in agriculture, animal husbandry, agro processing and industrial and trade ventures," the spokesman said.
Sharif appreciated the unique initiative taken by Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who led a delegation to Pakistan last year to strengthen bilateral ties between both Punjabs, and suggested similar delegations should frequently visit both sides to further explore the untapped potential in industry, agriculture, agro-processing, textile and infrastructure.
"Demolish all the walls which hinders the prosperity and progress of both the states," Sharif said while interacting with Badal and senior officials here.
He said that both the Punjabs should learn from the countries of the European Union which had joined hands to usher progress in their respective countries. He said that both Punjabs have a lot in common.
Lauding Badal for providing free power to farmers of eastern Punjab at a cost of Rs.6,000 crore, Sharif said that this was a laudable step to motivate farmers. He admitted that he had failed to do the same in Pakistan Punjab.