18:21 GMT20 April 2021
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    India’s trade minister categorically denied that the government had held discussions over withdrawal of Most Favored Nation status from Pakistan.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — In the midst of war of words between India and Pakistan over the Uri terror attack and subsequent surgical strikes on militants in the disputed areas, India’s trade minister hinted that relations between Delhi and Islamabad are unlikely to deteriorate further.

    "On the issue of the withdrawal of Most Favored Nation (MFN) from Pakistan, strictly speaking, that has not yet been discussed,” said Nirmala Sitharaman, India’s Commerce and Industry Minister.

    After the militant attack on the Indian Army camp in Uri, withdrawal of MFN status from Pakistan was one of the options put forward by experts. Nirmala Sitharaman stated that India had extended MFN status to Pakistan as a “goodwill gesture” in hope of a reciprocal move by Islamabad. But, “unfortunately” Pakistan has not followed the WTO norms derived for MFN status.

    Bilateral trade between the two nations amounts to $ 2.61 billion out of which $2.2 billion constituted India’s exports to Pakistan. An escalation of tensions due to the terror attacks have not impacted trade between India and Pakistan. Even after the Mumbai terror attack in 2008, the next year witnessed a minor growth in bilateral trade.

    A study by ICRIER, an Indian economic policy think tank, shows that India’s trade potential with Pakistan is in tune of $ 10.9 billion out of which India could export goods worth $7.9 billion annually.


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