SRINAGAR: A day after the Pakistan premier responded to the get-well-soon message of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Islamabad is deciding today about resuming bilateral trade, reports appearing in media said.
“In what could be a first major step by Islamabad to attempt revival of relations with New Delhi, the Pakistan government is going to consider Wednesday the resumption of trade ties with India,” The Indian Express reported quoting sources. Pakistan’s cabinet committee on economic affairs must be in a meeting, right now.
Cotton and sugar imports from India are seemingly in priority.
The abrogation of Article 370 had led to the snapping of trade relations between the two countries and the downgrade of diplomatic relations. Off late, however, the two countries are warming up to each other. Starting from reviving the ceasefire, the two Prime Ministers have been in communication. Prime Minister Modi wished Khan on Pakistan day and later after he was tested positive for Covid-19.
Both the countries are insisting on peace. While India is talking about terrorism, Pakistan has been talking about Kashmir first.
“India desires normal relations, including on trade with all countries, including Pakistan. Pakistan unilaterally suspended bilateral trade with India in August 2019,” minister of state for commerce and industry Hardeep Singh Puri told Lok Sabha last week. “It is for Pakistan to review its unilateral measures on trade.”
The snapping of ties between the two neighbours has hit the trade seriously. In 2020, India’s exports to Pakistan dipped by 76.3% to $283 million while imports plummeted by 96.2% to just $2.5 million. If relations are normalized, the bilateral trade has the potential of reaching up to US $ 37 billion, according to a 2018 World Bank assessment.