India-Pakistan trade liberalisation depends on PM's meeting in New York

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BJP has demanded that Manmohan Singh should not hold any meeting with Nawaz Sharif. Reuters BJP has demanded that Manmohan Singh should not hold any meeting with Nawaz Sharif. Reuters
SummaryBJP has demanded that Manmohan Singh should not hold any meeting with Nawaz Sharif.

India has made it clear that any further liberalisation of bilateral trade between India and Pakistan will depend on a possible meeting of the Prime Ministers of the two countries next month in New York.

However, there is no confirmation so far whether Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will meet his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif on the sidelines of UN General Assembly annual session in New York in the backdrop of continued ceasefire violations and the killing of five Indian Army jawans by Pakistani forces on LoC in Jammu and Kashmir.

The main opposition party BJP has demanded that Singh should not hold any meeting with Sharif given ceasefire violations by Pakistani army on the border.

"Movement of trade talks and further liberalisation of bilateral trade between the countries, everything depends on the meeting of the Prime Ministers of the two countries in New York," a senior official in the Commerce Ministry said.

The trade liberalisation was impacted after the mutilation and beheading of Indian soldiers in January.

Besides, Pakistan that has missed the deadline of granting Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India is also not going well with Indian officials.

The neighbouring country has to grant the status in December last year.

The Commerce Secretaries of India and Pakistan met last time in September 2012. Commerce Secretary S R Rao was in Islamabad for the seventh round of talks on Commercial and Economic Co-Operation.

During that meeting, both the sides had signed three agreements for cooperation in customs matters, redressal of trade grievances and conforming to quality standards.

Both the sides have also planned to liberalise trade in sectors like power and petroleum.

The bilateral trade between the countries stood at $2.60 billion in 2012-13.

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