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Pakistan foreign minister hints at reviving trade ties with India


NEW DELHI: Pakistan’s foreign minister Ishaq Dar has spoken about examining the trade situation with India and hinted at a possible resumption of trade ties at the behest of the business community in their country.

“India is our neighbour, what they did in August 2019 (revoking Article 370) is painful and that dispute continues. However, the business community in Pakistan has been appealing that there should be resumption of trade with India as they have to send products via Dubai to India as a result of which the cost increases. We will seriously examine this issue,’’ said Dar on Saturday in London.

Dar said that before the budget every year the business community raises this. “Last year, as finance minister I dealt with such requests before the budget,’’ he added.

In March 2021, Pakistan’s Economic Coordination Committee had said that it would permit the private sector to import 0.5 million tonnes of sugar from India and also cotton via Wagah border. But this decision had to be reversed after it received a lot of criticism.

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif too has said that there was a need to improve ties with India.

It may be recalled that Pakistan downgraded its diplomatic relations with India by expelling India’s Ambassador to Pakistan, Ajay Bisaria, in the wake of the revoking Article 370 in Kashmir in August 2019. India had reciprocated and since then there has been a diplomatic downgrade.

New Delhi has asserted that the constitutional measures taken by the Indian government to ensure socio-economic development and good governance in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir are matters internal to India.

Both nations have their respective charge d’affaires in each other’s countries.

Lately, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a post on X, congratulated Shehbaz Sharif on becoming the head of Pakistan’s government, prompting hopes for a diplomatic thaw.

Sharif responded days later with an equally curt post, thanking Modi for his “felicitations”.