Pakistan has yet to grant the most favoured nation (MFN) status to India, Parliament was informed today. "India and Pakistan have no formal bilateral trade agreement. India granted the MFN status to Pakistan in 1996. Pakistan is yet to reciprocate," Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha. Grant of the status to India would help in further boosting trade between the countries.
The meeting between Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan in May held that the two countries could move immediately towards full trade normalisation on the basis of the September 2012 roadmap worked out between commerce secretaries of both the sides, Sitharaman said. Pakistan has decided to postpone grant of Non- Discriminatory Market Access (NDMA) status to India due to lack of consensus at home. NDMA is a nomenclature chosen by the Pakistan government to avoid political ramifications at home of giving India the MFN status.
Bilateral trade between India and Pakistan touched USD 2.6 billion in 2012-13. India's main exports to Pakistan include sugar, man-made filaments and chemicals, while its imports comprise mineral fuels, among others.
The Minister said that during bilateral talks held between the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan following the swearing-in ceremony of the Indian Government on May 26, 2014, "it was agreed that Foreign Secretaries of both the countries would get in touch to explore the possibility of how to move bilateral relations between the two countries forward. "Our Prime Minister further emphasised the importance of maintaining peace and tranquillity at the borders and upholding the sanctity of the Line of Control (LoC)," he said.
Further in the budget of 2014-15, introduced in the Parliament on July 10 2014, Rs 500 crore have been earmarked for rehabilitation of Kashmir migrants, he added.
Talking about JK further, he said in an another reply, so far, 2,264 Special Police Officers (SPOs) have been converted as constables/followers under government policy. "As per report, there is no proposal or policy under consideration of the state government to consider Village Defence Committees (VDCs) for regularisation, as their nature of engagement is purely voluntary," Rijiju said.