'Most Favoured Nation' status to Pakistan had little impact'
New Delhi, Sep 27: Even as India plans to review the Most Favoured Nation status in trade granted to Pakistan, India Inc said that MFN has made no difference to the "abysmally low" level of bilateral trade.
"India-Pakistan trade relations are abysmally low accounting for less than half a per cent of India's total global trade involving both exports and imports," the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) said in a release here.
Official data showed that out of India's total merchandise trade of $643 billion in 2015-16, Pakistan accounted for a meagre $2.67 billion.
"In all, trade with Pakistan was equivalent to 0.41 per cent of India's global merchandise commerce," Secretary General Assocham D.S. Rawat said in the statement.
"Thus, the MFN (Most Favoured Nation) status, or no MFN, has not made much of a difference on the bilateral trade," he said.
"While India has granted Pakistan the MFN status, Islamabad had not responded. But even with the MFN status, Pakistan's exports to India remained less than half a billion dollars," he added.
India's exports to Pakistan last year amounted to $2.17 billion, or 0.83 per cent of total Indian exports, while imports were 497 million, or 0.13 per cent of total inward shipments.
The major items of Indian export to Pakistan include organic chemicals, vegetables, cotton, plastics and processed food waste, like fodder.
Items of Indian imports from Pakistan include cottons, fruits and nuts, mineral fuels, wax, sulphur, lime, cement and hides.
"Going forward, as things stand today, it is almost no movement seen in the immediate future. Even the symbolic presence of Pakistan exhibitors at the annual India International Trade Fair (IITF) in November in New Delhi is not expected whether or not formal ties are snapped or not, given the present state of affairs," Rawat said.
Assocham said "India Inc. is fully behind Prime Minister Narendra Modi for steering India's interest in the best possible directions."
"India's strategic decisions are fully the domain of the government, which enjoys the full backing of the nation," Rawat added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to hold a review meeting on MFN statu to Pakistan on Thursday, according to sources.
At another review meeting here on Monday, Prime Minister Modi directed that the Indus Water Treaty with Pakistan be revisited.
"Blood and water cannot flow together," Modi said at the meeting to review the Indus Water Treaty signed by India and Pakistan in 1960.
It was decided that the meetings of Indus water commissioners, that are held to resolve disputes, will now be held "only in an atmosphere free of terror".
The meeting also decided review a 1987 decision to stop the construction of the Tulbul barrage on the Jhelum after Pakistan objected that the plan violated the Indus Water Treaty.
India has taken a tough stance against Pakistan for sponsoring terrorism in the country. Ties between the neighbours have nosedived following Islamabad's open backing of the unrest in Kashmir valley. India has also accused Pakistan-backed terrorists of being behind the September 18 terror attack on the Uri army base in Kashmir, that left 18 soldiers dead.