Trade or no trade with India: that’s been the key bone of contention for Pakistan in a serious foreign policy and trade matter concerning its neighbour! And now, it appears, there’s clarity. Not long after the government of Pakistan rejected the proposal of importing cotton and sugar from its neighbouring India, which was only hours after it had itself canceled the ban of imports (a ban that lasted for two years), has it declared that no trade will be possible with India in the current circumstances.
As a matter of fact, Imran Khan decided that Pakistan cannot go ahead with any trade whatsoever with India after holding consultations with all key members in his cabinet on importing sugar as well as cotton from its neighbour.
This decision came to light after a detailed meeting took place as on Saturday, i.e., April 3, 2021. After having consultations on Friday, Pakistan PM Imran Khan issued a set of instructions to the Ministry of Commerce. The instructions were given to facilitate key sectors, such as- value added as well as apparel and sugar to find the alternate sources for import of the much-needed commodities.
As a matter of fact, the tensity between Pakistan and India are not a brand new phenomenon; last year, in 2020, the relations between two neighbours plumbed new lows following verbal duels between the two and the summoning of diplomats and the rhetorics by Pakistan PM Imran Khan. These ties, that were anything but normal reached the most harrowing turn of events following the 2019 Pulwama episode, wherein Pak-based Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist group killed 44 harmless CRPF soldiers of India.
And now the absolute disruption of trade, such an accompanying factor of the severed relations has truly come to the fore with the controversial sub-continental country discarding any possibility whatsoever to engage in bi-lateral trade with its neighbour.
That being said, here’s what business publication Business Standard happened to report on the developing story:
In the present case, a proposal was presented to the ECC to allow the import of cotton, cotton yarn and sugar from India keeping in view domestic requirements, it said.
With regards to the ECC decision to allow import of sugar, cotton and cotton yarn from India, Khan held consultations with key members of his Cabinet on Friday and decided that Pakistan could not go ahead with any trade with India under the current circumstances, it said.
The ECC had decided on commercial grounds to recommend these imports for the Cabinet’s consideration.
To take cognisance of where Pakistan stands as of today, Islamabad maintains that a normalisation of ties with its neighbour can happen only under one crucial circumstance: it’s when New Delhi, the Indian capital, can reverse its stance on the decision on the region of Jammu and Kashmir, taken back in 2019 speaking of revoking the special status attributed to Jammu and Kashmir.
On the other hand, India has never been shy from exerting pressure on Pakistan to put an end to the unwanted and blasphemous terrorist activities and for harbouring terrorists, an accusation proven time and again in the global court of law or several international courts.
New Delhi maintains that it desires normal ties with Pakistan but only under one condition that its troublesome neighbour maintains an atmosphere free of enmity, terror, hostility and violence.
But at the same time, pragmatism beckons that there may still be time-rather loads of it- before normality can embrace the ties between the two.