Pakistan on Wednesday announced suspension of bilateral trade with India after the latter’s “illegal and unilateral” decision on Kashmir to revoke the special status and bifurcate the state in two Union Territories. The decision to suspend trad with India was taken at the National Security Committee meeting, chaired by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. Not just that, Pakistan also expelled Indian Envoy and recalled its High Commissioner in New Delhi.
During the meeting, it was also decided to review the Pakistan-India bilateral arrangements, take the Kashmir special status issue to the United Nations and observe the upcoming Independence Day on August 14 in solidarity with Kashmiris.
However, experts are of the view that Pakistan’s decision to suspend bilateral trade with India is likely to hurt Islamabad as the neighbouring country import essential items like onion, tomatoes and chemicals.
"The suspension of trade relations will hit Pakistan more badly as India is less dependent on Pakistan while the latter is more," news agency PTI quoted Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) Director General Ajay Sahai as saying.
He said that since Pakistan has not given “most favoured nation” status to India, its export basket to Islamabad consists of limited products and such items have ready market in South Asia and the Middle East.
Professor Biswajit Dhar of Jawaharlal Nehru University echoed Sahai and said that both in the long and short term, Pakistan would be impacted by its decision to suspend bilateral trade with India as the country also import basic agriculture commodities like onion and tomatoes.
While India's exports to Pakistan stood at USD 2 billion, imports were about USD 500 million per year. Imports from Pakistan declined by 92 per cent to USD 2.84 million in March this year compared to USD 34.61 million in March 2018, according to the commerce ministry data.
India imported goods such as cotton, fresh fruits, cement, petroleum products and mineral ore from Pakistan. During April-June this fiscal, imports stood at to USD 7.13 million. India's exports to Pakistan too have dipped by about 32 per cent to USD 171.34 million in March. However, exports had increased by 7.4 per cent to USD 2 billion during 2018-19.
During April-June this fiscal, India's exports stood at USD 314.7million. The main products being exported by India include organic chemicals; cotton; nuclear reactors, boilers; plastic products; tanning or dyeing extracts; cereals; sugar; coffee, tea; articles of iron and steel; copper and footwear.
(With agency inputs)