No change in trade policy with India: Pakistan

Published - March 28, 2024 05:46 pm IST - Islamabad

Pakistan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Ishaq Dar. File

Pakistan’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Ishaq Dar. File | Photo Credit: AFP

Pakistan on March 28 clarified that it has no plan to resume trade relations with India which has been "non-existent" since 2019 after the Indian government abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.

The clarification from Pakistan's Foreign Office comes days after the new Foreign Minister Ishaq Dar said in London that Pakistan will seriously consider restoring trade ties with India that have remained suspended since August 2019.

In August 2019, India suspended Article 370 giving special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated it into centrally-administered Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.

At the weekly briefing here, Foreign Office spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch was asked to comment on reports about the possibility of resumption of trade ties with India.

“Pakistan-India trade relations have been non-existent since 2019 when India took illegal steps in the illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir … There is no change in Pakistan's position on it,” Ms. Baloch said.

Foreign Minister Mr. Dar, during a press conference in London on March 23, highlighted the eagerness of Pakistan's business community to resume trade activities with India, indicating a potential shift in diplomatic stance towards its neighbouring nation.

Pakistan downgraded its ties with India after the Indian Parliament suspended Article 370 on August 5, 2019, a decision that Islamabad believed undermined the environment for holding talks between the neighbours.

Pakistan has been insisting that the onus of improving the ties was on India and urging it to undo its "unilateral" steps in Kashmir as a sort of pre-condition to start the talks.

India has dismissed the suggestion and made it clear to Pakistan that the entire Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh were integral and inalienable parts of the country.

New Delhi has also 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.

It has been maintaining that it desires normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan while insisting that the onus is on Islamabad to create an environment that is free of terror and hostility for such an engagement.

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