India to review MFN status given to Pakistan, PM Modi to chair meeting on Thursday

By: | Updated: September 27, 2016 6:39 PM

After the Indus Waters Treaty, the government is now considering the review of MFN (Most Favoured Nation) status to Pakistan. PM Modi will chair a review meeting on September 29.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi told top officials, who had gathered Monday to review the implementation of the 56-year-old Indus Waters Treaty, that “rakt aur paani ek saath nahin beh sakta” (blood and water cannot flow together). Prime Minister Narendra Modi told top officials, who had gathered Monday to review the implementation of the 56-year-old Indus Waters Treaty, that “rakt aur paani ek saath nahin beh sakta” (blood and water cannot flow together).

It seems that the Narendra Modi government has decided to take the ‘economic’ route to counter Pakistan’s terror activities in the country. After the Indus Waters Treaty, the government is now considering the review of MFN (Most Favoured Nation) status to Pakistan. PM Modi will chair a review meeting on September 29. According to ANI, officials from external affairs and commerce ministry will attend the meeting. Prime Minister Narendra Modi told top officials, who had gathered Monday to review the implementation of the 56-year-old Indus Waters Treaty, that “rakt aur paani ek saath nahin beh sakta” (blood and water cannot flow together). He chaired the meeting amidst heightened tension between the two countries. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, the Water Resources Secretary, and senior PMO officials were present at the meeting.

Moving to mount pressure on Pakistan in the wake of the Uri attack, the government decided that the meeting of the Indus water commissioners of the two countries can “only take place in an atmosphere free from terror”. This means that the meetings of the commissioners, held twice a year, stand suspended with immediate effect. Since 1960, the water commissioners have met 112 times. The government also decided to “move expeditiously” on the three power projects on the Chenab river — Pakaldul which is under construction, and Sawalkot and Bursar which are in advanced stages of planning.

ALSO READ: Indus Waters Treaty abrogation an ‘awful’ idea; won’t solve terror problem

Meanwhile, India’s Indus water commissioner and officials from the Ministry of External Affairs left Monday for Washington to attend a meeting with the World Bank that brokered the Indus treaty.

The MFN status was accorded in 1996 under WTO’s General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). Both India and Pakistan are signatories to this which mean they have to treat each other and rest of WTO member countries as favoured trading partners. According to Assocham, out of India’s total merchandise trade of $641 billion in 2015-16, Pakistan accounted for a meagre $2.67 billion. India’s exports to the neighbouring country worked out to $2.17 billion, or 0.83 percent, of the total Indian outward shipments while imports were less than $500 million, or 0.13 percent, of the total inward shipments.

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