Home >Politics >Policy >India to review MFN status to Pakistan

New Delhi: Within days of ordering a review of the Indus Waters Treaty with Pakistan, New Delhi is set to take a hard look at the most favoured nation (MFN) status granted to its neighbour under international trade rules at a meeting to be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday.

The decisions to revisit the MFN status as well as the 1960 Indus water accord come in the wake of the 18 September terrorist attack in Uri in north Kashmir, in which 18 Indian Army soldiers were killed and 18 wounded.

“The MFN review meeting is likely to take place on Thursday," an official who did not want to be named said on Tuesday.

India has indicated that it cannot be business as usual with Pakistan and announced it is contemplating a slew of measures to pressure Islamabad to abandon its strategy of using terrorism as an instrument of state policy against India.

News that India will revisit Pakistan’s MFN status, accorded in 1996 as per the stipulations of the World Trade Organization (WTO), came on a day when Indian foreign secretary S. Jaishankar summoned Pakistani high commissioner Abdul Basit and showed him evidence that the terrorists who attacked the army garrison in Uri crossed over from Pakistan.

“Foreign secretary calls in Pakistan HC Basit today & presents proof of cross-border origins of #UriAttacks," tweeted Indian foreign ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup.

“Informs him that the two guides who helped in the infiltration have been apprehended by local villagers and are now in custody," he said in another tweet.

The two guides have been identified as 20-year-old Faizal Hussain Awan and 19-year-old Yasin Khurshid, both from Muzzaffarabad in Pakistan-held Kashmir, according to the Indian foreign ministry.

“During his interrogation, Faizal Hussain Awan has deposed to (India’s) National Investigation Agency that they had guided and facilitated the border-crossing of the group that perpetrated the 18 September Uri massacre. In his preliminary statement, he identified from among the slain attackers one Hafiz Ahmed... resident of village Dharbang, Muzaffarabad," a separate statement from the Indian foreign ministry said.

“Foreign secretary terms continuing CB (cross-border) terrorist attacks from Pakistan against India as unacceptable," Swarup tweeted.

It is in a bid to reinforce the message that terrorism is unacceptable to India that India is looking at a review of the MFN status, said Biswajit Dhar, a professor at New Delhi-based Jawaharlal Nehru University. “It is a signal to Pakistan; it is also tantamount to sanctions on Pakistan," he said.

Given that most of the trade between India and Pakistan is channelled through third countries and direct bilateral trade between India and Pakistan is just $2.6 billion, “withdrawal of MFN status only amounts to a signal", Dhar added.

Modi on Monday directed his government to step up the exploitation of India’s share of water in the Indus Water Treaty and called off India’s participation in meetings of Indus water commissioners.

Subscribe to Mint Newsletters
* Enter a valid email
* Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter.

Never miss a story! Stay connected and informed with Mint. Download our App Now!!

Edit Profile
My ReadsRedeem a Gift CardLogout