India indicates resumption of trade with Pakistan: Report
India is willing to normalize bilateral trade with countries across the world, including Pakistan
India on Wednesday indicated restoration of trade ties with Pakistan, after almost two years of deadlock. While addressing the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Hardeep Singh Puri expressed India’s aspiration to normalise relations such as trade ties with all countries, including Pakistan.
He made the remarks while replying to a question on whether bilateral trade between India and Pakistan will resume after the ceasefire agreement between the two neighbours. He noted that Pakistan unilaterally suspended bilateral trade with India in August 2019 in the aftermath of border tensions between the two countries. The minister further called on Islamabad to review its unilateral protocols to facilitate trade with India.
“It is for Pakistan to review its unilateral measures on trade,” Puri said in the Lower House.
The ceasefire deal brokered between India and Pakistan in February 2021 has brought renewed hopes for peace between the two nations.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote to his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan on the occasion of Pakistan National Day. In his letter to Imran Khan, PM Modi had expressed India’s desire for cordial relations with the people of Pakistan. He further asserted that an environment of trust which is “devoid of terror and hostility” is imperative for establishing cordial relations. PM Modi had also wished speedy recovery to the Pakistan PM who tested COVID-19 positive last week.
Earlier this month, Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa asserted that stable Indo-Pak relation is the key to utilising the potential between the two nations. He had said that it is time for India and Pakistan to “bury the past and move forward.”
Tensions between New Delhi and Islamabad escalated in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack in February 2019. In response to the attack, India withdrew the “Most Favored Nation” or non-discriminatory market status unilaterally accorded to Pakistan in 1996. New Delhi also imposed a customs duty of 200 percent on all goods imported from Pakistan.
On the other hand, Pakistan suspended bilateral trade with India in August 2019 after the Modi government scrapped Article 370 and removed the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
Significantly, India’s exports to Pakistan reduced 76.3% to $283 million in the year 2020, while imports went down 96.2% to only $2.5 million. As per reports, Pakistani exporters have urged the government to allow the import of cotton from India, along with other key raw materials such as plastic, cement, steel, and chemicals.
On Wednesday, India and Pakistan concluded the two-day meeting under the Indus Waters Treaty. During the meeting, the two sides discussed the designs of two Indian projects named Lower Kalnai and Pakal Dul.