India praises Pakistan's efforts to normalise trade ties

Published: March 1, 2012
India's Minister of External Affairs SM Krishna says Pakistan is moving in the 'right direction'. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

India's Minister of External Affairs SM Krishna says Pakistan is moving in the 'right direction'. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

India on Thursday welcomed Pakistan’s decision to phase out major restrictions on Indian imports by the end of this year, a move to normalise trade ties between the nuclear-armed neighbours.

India’s Foreign Minister SM Krishna thanked Pakistan for deciding to gradually scrap the “negative list” that prevents the export of hundreds of items from India.

“Pakistan is moving in the right direction in terms of bringing economic content into the political relationship,” Krishna told reporters in New Delhi. “This would certainly help strengthen our bilateral ties.”

Aiming at complete trade normalisation by the end of this year, the federal cabinet not only approved a negative list of 1,209 banned items, which will allow trade in all other goods with India, but also sanctioned the phasing out of the negative list in the next ten months.

At present, Pakistan maintains a positive list of 1,945 items that are allowed to be traded between the two countries. The switch from a positive to a negative list has long been a hurdle to freeing up trade between the two.

Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan had said on Wednesday that the move was taken on recommendations of coalition partners and cabinet members.

Awan had also said that the cabinet also decided in principle to phase out the negative list by December 31, 2012, which will complete the trade normalisation process.

This decision would mean that India can export 6,800 items against 1,950 at present.

India’s Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry, a trade body estimated that the move will increase cross-border trade to over $6 billion by 2014.

Direct trade between India and Pakistan currently constitutes less than one percent of their respective global trade. India exported goods worth $2.33 billion to Pakistan last year while its imports were $330 million.

In 1996, India granted Pakistan “most preferred nation” status which is intended to remove discriminatory higher pricing and duty tariffs.

Pakistan agreed in principle to grant a similar status to India last year, paving the way for a radical change.

Deepening economic engagement between the two countries is seen as crucial to establishing lasting peace in the troubled South Asian region.

Relations between India and Pakistan, which have fought three wars since the subcontinent was partitioned in 1947, have been plagued by border and resource disputes and accusations of Pakistani militant activity against India.

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Reader Comments (62)

  • Asif from Rawalakot, Azad Kashmir
    Mar 1, 2012 - 2:59PM

    Hand over Kashmir, then we’ll talk trade. The govt of Pakistan does not speak for all the people of Pakistan


  • raw is war
    Mar 1, 2012 - 3:03PM

    we will rake in trillions….


  • Mr T
    Mar 1, 2012 - 3:19PM

    Good move. Thank god better sense prevailed and we took this step. Will go a long way in solving our issues with India. India is aiming to be a world power and realizes that it can’t be unless it has Pakistan on it’s side and i’m sure is keen to settle all outstanding issues with us.


  • Ali. Mir
    Mar 1, 2012 - 3:28PM

    This is the way forward. More commerce and trade and people to people exchange


  • frank
    Mar 1, 2012 - 3:44PM

    thank you, PPP. this is the beginning of the end for pakistan.


  • Khan
    Mar 1, 2012 - 4:06PM

    Enemosity brings suffering for common people .. free trade with neighbors especially, will bring prosperity and less dependency upon aid .. Very good move indeed.


  • Wasim
    Mar 1, 2012 - 4:14PM

    They’re trying their best to kill Pakistani economy, and they’re succeeding.


  • Asif
    Mar 1, 2012 - 4:17PM

    Ohhhh…that’s so sweet.Recommend

  • Mar 1, 2012 - 4:19PM

    Trade with our enemy number 1 who supports insurgency in Baluchistan, backing TTP and occupied our Kashmir ?? we have a great wonderful policy


  • Ghaznavi
    Mar 1, 2012 - 4:37PM

    @ raw is war

    Like your ministers raked trillions in the 2-G deal? LOL Really ‘shining india’.. isnt it?? Shine more and rake even some more with 85% dwindling below 2 USD a day. Recommend

  • Wait up
    Mar 1, 2012 - 4:43PM

    What about our exports? Is India going to liberalize our trade to them? Or is this a one way street


  • Truth Teller
    Mar 1, 2012 - 4:47PM

    Thank God at least something is going in the right direction! One must give credit to these incompetant people of doing something right.


  • Raj
    Mar 1, 2012 - 5:09PM

    @Asif from Rawalakot, Azad Kashmir….keep dreaming…:):)


  • baghwan
    Mar 1, 2012 - 5:31PM

    this is great that Pakistan is making ties with its neighbors, we need free movement and trade.


  • WoW
    Mar 1, 2012 - 5:35PM

    @Pakistan politics:
    When General Mushy was in power, he told the whole world that he would provide evidence of foreign involvement in Baluchistan. Nothing happened. Earlier this month, a Minister said proof will be bought before the NA. So far nothing only hot air for its people. How long does it take to make concocted evidence? Memogate took only days. If you know when it will be tabled, please let us know. Otherwise just……………up.


  • aliza
    Mar 1, 2012 - 6:14PM

    Get one thing Straight Pakistanis..
    India and Pakistan can never be Friends
    India is a our biggest enemy and will remain forever Now this Trade between these two Countries is nothing but a Conspiracy to Destroy our Already Destroyed EconomyRecommend

  • G. Din
    Mar 1, 2012 - 6:32PM

    @Mr T:
    “India is aiming to be a world power and realizes that it can’t be unless it has Pakistan on it’s side…”
    Don’t kid yourself if you think you have a veto on what India can accomplish. You will look like a fool, if you do. India will be a world power in its own time, with or without you!
    “… and i’m sure is keen to settle all outstanding issues with us.”
    We like to be on friendly terms with as many as we can but will never again sacrifice our legitimate national interests for the sake of anyone’s friendship. It won’t matter a bit if Pakistan is not one of them, trust me!


  • Scientist
    Mar 1, 2012 - 6:46PM

    @G. Din:

    You cant be a superpower with a threat of have Pakistani entering through your backdoor. Isn’t it what Indian govt. & the media rattles about whenever Pakistan does a weapons deal or tests a missile?

    The truth is, both countries need each other. The sooner you realize it the better off both would be. Recommend

  • Yuri Kondratyuk
    Mar 1, 2012 - 6:58PM

    @Mr T:

    India is aiming to be a world power
    and realizes that it can’t be unless
    it has Pakistan on it’s side

    India is an ancient civilization. And it has seen too many world powers and divine conquerors over the millenia to be infatuated with being a world power itself.


  • yajsingh
    Mar 1, 2012 - 7:16PM

    I think both sides understand sensitivities of other and are behaving in a matured fashion – which is a marked difference from past.
    If the other day – pakistani spokesman deliberately refused to name “India” in its Balochistan statement (BTW, this is a subtle hint to those voices that love to believe Balochistan movement is India manufactured); today, the article is sensible to call India “most preferred nation” as opposed to the actual term “most favored nation” (MFN) which would translate to most pasandida nation.


  • Rajendra Kalkhande
    Mar 1, 2012 - 7:28PM

    @ aliza : I almost agree with your observation that India and Pakistan can never be true friends. However, That applies between almost all countries in the world. There is nothing like true friendship among nations. Only national interests matter. Issue of true friendship was settled in 1947. All we need is how to conduct our relations in a peaceful and civilized manner. Having been very close to USA and China during last 60 years Pakistan should know what it takes to be true friends. No one sided with her in times of crisis. As far as trade is concerned, please feel free to call it off if your national interests are harmed. Same applies to India. I am sure we won;t even blink our eye to stop it if it hurts us in any manner.


  • Indian
    Mar 1, 2012 - 7:57PM

    At least our scams do come out in the open and the guilty is punished, in addition, we are making efforts to rectify such issues with Jan Lokpal bill among others. For your leaders & scams…the less said the better!

    As for 85% living below poverty line, keep dreaming & be happy with your illusions. Our current poverty level is fast receding and the existing ones we have are your brothers and sisters that did not migrate to Pakistan who not only have a national pastime of increasing population but are a burden on the economy. India is the 4th largest economy in the world. Check your facts or just be happy! LIVE AND LET LIVE…PEACE TO ALL!!!


  • Truth and only Truth
    Mar 1, 2012 - 8:24PM

    Let me say this that all those who tell Pakistanis that India is an enemy they themselves are their real enemies.
    All those who harp that India is involved in Balauchistan they should read what ShahZain Bugti has said “Unrest is created by Pakistan, not by India.”
    And if India is involved then why don’t Pakistani Intelligence Agencies do something about it, why don’t they provide concrete evidence about it?
    Beware of those who are our and your enemies.


  • Shyam
    Mar 1, 2012 - 8:32PM

    Pakistan is not a threat. You are just a nuisance. China is the threat

    We are past bothering about you. If you test a missile we read it here on express tribune rather than our papers. In fact even if WE test a missile we read it here. Speaking of deals. how many weapons deals have you struck in the recent past? Oh you mean the the JF-17??? with China?? Recommend

  • well-wisher
    Mar 1, 2012 - 8:34PM

    Had Pakistan taken this step a few years back, its economy would have been in a much better shape. Most of the Pakistanis who are criticising their govt for this positive move will change their mind soon.


  • Eruve
    Mar 1, 2012 - 8:38PM

    @ghaznavi: Assuming rate of $ = 52 inr and the size of family being 5. The family would earn 15000 or in pkr it would be around 25000. Not bad at all. Maybe it is too put for you pakistanis. But in small town india 10000 is more than enough to have a decent life.


  • Mar 1, 2012 - 8:50PM

    @Rajendra Kalkhande

    this is exactly the point.. it hurts us…


  • Pakistani First
    Mar 1, 2012 - 8:59PM

    I have a simple question for all those Indians who keep trying to tell that us that they are least concerned about Pakistan, what are you doing on a Pakistani newpaper site? I have never been to an Indian newspaper site and am least interested in what is going on in your supposedly ‘shining’ country. It is you guys who are obessed with us not the other way round.


  • yajsingh
    Mar 1, 2012 - 9:26PM

    Dear “@Pakistani First” Trade requires two sides and its in mutual interest.
    Its wrong to say pakistan alone requires India and its not vice versa.

    BTW, i’m on pakistani newspapers reading news about India (that my newspaper don’t seem to care) Recommend

  • Bhutto
    Mar 1, 2012 - 9:32PM

    As much as people dislike the current PPP leadership, including myself a Bhutto. You have to give credit to the PPP for normalizing ties between India in the past 4 years. These countries were on the brink of War when Musharaf was in power and we all know how much hate Nawaz Sharif has for India.

  • well-wisher
    Mar 1, 2012 - 9:43PM

    @Pakistani First:
    The simple reply to your query is that Indians are well wishers of Pakistan whether you reciprocate it or not.


  • khaqan
    Mar 1, 2012 - 9:56PM

    wow first time I read Indian minster praised Pakistan… Now looks for further blasting from India in the name of Taliban & Baloch…


  • sikka
    Mar 1, 2012 - 10:42PM

    “SM Krishna thanked Pakistan for deciding to gradually scrap…”

    When did SM Krishna “thanked” Pakistan ? Look at his exact words , did he ever used the word “thank” ? lol. Pakistanis again imagining things and want to feel good for themselves. Pakistan wants to trade with India because it is in the interests of pakistani one is doing any charity here.


  • Mar 1, 2012 - 10:49PM


    thanks, but the behind the lines meaning of many comments by Indians do not convey the same message.. so you are not completely wrong but not completely true either..


  • Joy
    Mar 1, 2012 - 10:53PM

    @Pakistani First ” what are you doing on a Pakistani newpaper site? I have never been to an Indian newspaper site ”
    Dear Sir, the reason is it is very important for a sensible person to know the other side of the story as well.


  • Rishabh Jain
    Mar 1, 2012 - 11:27PM

    @Pakistani First:
    Apropos, as to why so many Indians visit this Pakistani thread:
    Quite simply, the Express Tribune is a most excellent newspaper,
    where the best and the worst of Pakistan (and India),
    is honestly addressed and exposed.
    I also read the other, ‘sunrise’ newspaper, founded by MA Jinnah.
    The Express Tribune’s layout benefits from the IHT/NYT.
    It is simply the best of all broadsheet dailies in the sub-continent.
    Unequivocally, the very best. Bar none.
    So, there you are … and the threads reflect it …
    it attracts the informed brains of South Asia …
    and some not too bright brains too ( look around ;)
    from within the subcontinent and the desi diaspora / Anglosphere,
    to furrow their collective brows
    … on the shared past,
    … the angst ridden present and
    … the promise of a much better future.

    I hope, I have won you and your heart.
    I hope, the TOI achieves the same presentation standards.
    But, there, I hope too much. LOL!


  • Deepwater
    Mar 2, 2012 - 1:42AM

    To those who make snide remarks about the poverty in India, I wish the very best.

    If and when Pakistan starts down the road of economic progress, I will look forward to seeing it eliminate its own poverty overnight. Or else these very commentators will have to believe an all weather proverb which says that “a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step”.


  • Senthilman
    Mar 2, 2012 - 2:22AM

    @ Pakistani First.

    Well anjem choudary has called for the invasion of India, according to him we will be paying for our protection (apparently according to him it is written in Quran). So why so serious? we are going to be same countryman, no harm in reading the news now right?


  • gp65
    Mar 2, 2012 - 2:38AM

    @Asif from Rawalakot, Azad Kashmir: “Hand over Kashmir, then we’ll talk trade. The govt of Pakistan does not speak for all the people of Pakistan”

    You attacked India in 1965 because you thought it had been weakened by Kashmir war and tried to snatch Kashmir. You failed. You pushed jehadis to India and killed thousands of innocent Kashmiris in India. Still did not succeed in snatching Kashmir from us. Then you tried to double cross us by signing a peace deal with Vajpayee and then sending soldiers in Kargill. Once again you had to declare unilateral ceasfire. Why then do you believe that now when Idnia is much stronger economically compared to before and also has much more world support, it will give up its territory?


  • Unbiased Observer
    Mar 2, 2012 - 2:38AM

    To Fellow Pakistanis & Fellow Indians:

    Believe me, I have visited India & Pakistan several times on business, and I’ll be honest, both countries have a long way to go before they can be considered a world super power. Yes, life for people in the major cities in both countries India & Pakistan have the advantage of buying nice clothes, walking around town talking to friends & family on your cell phone, and being able to eat at a nice restaurant to celebrate a special family occassion, buying latest technology gadgets, etc.

    But, I know that day to day life in India and Pakistan is still very difficult for the ordinary man. There are so many construction delays on the roads, hospitals are not equipped to deal with medical emergencies, both countries have a lot of bureacracy/ red tape to accomplish anything—both countries have to bribe people to get anything/everything accomplished. Both countries have more cell phones than toilets/proper sanitation available for the public use. Homelessness exist in both countries – people are displaced due to economic conditions in India (people settling in enormous numbers in cities), and people are displaced due to flood/earthquake conditions in Pakistan. The average cost of living is rising in both countries whereas there is no increase in salary. Work ethic/productivity/pace of work of people for white collar jobs/office jobs are very slow compared to productivity of people living outside India & Pakistan.

    Anyways, I just wanted to point out that both countries have a lot of work to do and there are more similarities than differences.Recommend

  • gp65
    Mar 2, 2012 - 2:43AM

    @Wait up: “What about our exports? Is India going to liberalize our trade to them? Or is this a one way street”

    India had given MFN status to Pakistan in 1996. SO yes it has been a 1 way street so far, India gives, Pak takes. IT is good to see that there is more reciprocity now.


  • Munir Ahmad Saeed
    Mar 2, 2012 - 2:58AM

    @Asif from Rawalakot, Azad Kashmir:
    Kashmir is already in their hands, we can not sacrifice the very existence of Pakistan, for Kashmir. We have aready paid a heavy price during last 64 years. Kashmiris need freedom fight your own war.


  • Munir Ahmad Saeed
    Mar 2, 2012 - 3:03AM

    @Pakistan politics:
    No you are wrong, enemy number 1, is USA, who trash your soverignty on daily basis through drones. yes India may have interest in Balochistan troubles, but they did not create that problem, they just exploit it, and we have been doing this for 64 years in Kashmir, it is just pay back, donot cry baby


  • Munir Ahmad Saeed
    Mar 2, 2012 - 3:12AM

    @Rishabh Jain:
    All welcome, perhaps comments by Indian readers offer a different perspective compared to some myopic Pakistani false notions. I do love ET for its contents but I relish comments by Indian visitors, though at times rude, sometimes hurtful but most of the time true. There are a few who come as pak bashers, I can ignore them, but for reasonable readers from India please keep coming


  • M
    Mar 2, 2012 - 4:30AM

    @Asif from Rawalakot, Azad Kashmir:
    Or else what can you possibly do?


  • Insomniac
    Mar 2, 2012 - 4:50AM

    Let’s be honest here, have we not tried fighting each other? Did it resolve any issues…I guess not. Let’s give peace a chance, let’s start this period of prosperity with trade. The one and only good thing done by this incapable govt.


  • SaudiRules
    Mar 2, 2012 - 5:23AM

    @Asif from Rawalakot, Azad Kashmir wrote:

    “Hand over Kashmir, then we’ll talk trade. The govt of Pakistan does not speak for all the people of Pakistan”

    My dear kasmiri brother,
    I am young middle-aged pakistani and I feel that we have wasted too much money and resources to fight for rights of kashmiri in IOK, thinking that IOK will be united with pakistan. From the available information, the kashmiris in IOK, now want independence (this is mostly due to the current poor image/economy of pakistan in the world community, at least that is what I believe).
    I dont want my current and future generations of country to waste anymore resources on kashmir issue, this resources should be used for the betterment of our awam, including our azad kashmiri brothers.
    It is time to give trade and peace with all our neighbors, afghanistan, Iran and India a chance. However, we pakistani will always, keep our kasmiri brothers in heart and provide them a voice,moral and diplomatic support at all the international level.


  • amit
    Mar 2, 2012 - 6:45AM

    @Rishabh, well said mate. Our Pakistani friends, may I say, should take it as a compliment.


  • Pakistani First
    Mar 2, 2012 - 8:39AM

    @Rishabh Jain:
    Awesome comment brother!


  • abdulazeez
    Mar 2, 2012 - 9:37AM

    @ Ghaznavi : you are a genius, where you get these figures 85% Indians dwindling belw 2 USD a day. Pakistan need people like u for their success to become a failed state.


  • Akhtar
    Mar 2, 2012 - 9:49AM

    We should better ties with Islamic countries than with India or China.


  • Rajat Pandit
    Mar 2, 2012 - 10:23AM

    @Asif from Rawalakot, Azad Kashmir:
    That’s okay. Keep your trade, we don’t need it. We’ll keep Kashmir.


  • well-wisher
    Mar 2, 2012 - 11:07AM

    I do agree with your comments but rest assured that majority of Indians are not anti- Pakistanis. The main reason behind the same is that Kashmir is not at all an issue with us and Indians would be contented with agreement of converting LOC into IB with minor changes for satisfaction of both countries. However, the same may not be true in Pakistan where majority are die hard supporters of entire Kashmir be merged with Pakistan and plebicite conducted as per UN resolution. But if a recent survey in our part of Kashmir valley is to be be trusted, 77 percent want total independence. This survey does not include Jammu and other regions, leaves a huge question mark whether Pakistan should be spending major part of budget on defence rather than boosting its economy since the bride has rejected both suitors especially Pakistan, who has always pledged its full support to Kashmiris for more than six decades.


  • Mar 2, 2012 - 11:44AM

    Here is an eye opener for you the world. How Indians lie through their teeth. You can fool some people some time but can not fool all the people all of the time.


  • Yuri Kondratyuk
    Mar 2, 2012 - 2:49PM

    your moniker is well chosen and apt.


  • Babloo
    Mar 2, 2012 - 6:28PM

    Pakistan’s enimity with India, helps destroy Pakistan from within. I dont understand why India wants friendly relations with a state that’s a proclaimed enemy.


  • Mar 2, 2012 - 8:33PM

    good ties with India are inevitable and more trade with India would mean more jobs and cheaper products for the poor of this country.


  • sandeep limaye
    Mar 2, 2012 - 9:15PM

    thanks ET for providing a forum for a vibrant and civilized debate between Indians and Pakistanis. here we can confront each other rationally without using guns and bombs. when i started to write comments here i though that either my comments would not appear or heavily censored but my doubts are cleared soon.
    i had not imagined so liberal Pakistanis can be that they may entertain a Indian to put his viewpoint without censoring it.
    thanks again ET.


  • munnabhai
    Mar 3, 2012 - 1:00AM

    The greater the commerce the lesser are the chances in engaging in a military conflict


  • Singh Chauhan
    Mar 3, 2012 - 3:00AM

    @Pakistani First:
    that’s becoz India has a huuge number of active netizens (around 25 crores)


  • Indian
    Mar 3, 2012 - 9:10AM

    indians must stop comparing themselves with pakistan…pakistan’s economy at present isnt even comparable to bangladesh’s…bangladesh’s taka is stronger than pakistani rupee and its exports outnumber those of pakistan’s….pakistan must achieve something first, before ranting stupidly… this way, they are only making a fool of themselves…


  • G. Din
    Mar 4, 2012 - 12:48AM

    @Pakistani First:
    “…what are you doing on a Pakistani newpaper site?”
    To inform and be informed!
    ” I have never been to an Indian newspaper site and am least interested in what is going on in your supposedly ‘shining’ country.”
    It is your loss. Could it be because you are self-satisfied with your humdrum life with not much to look forward to?
    ” It is you guys who are obessed with us not the other way round.”
    We, obsessed with you? Don’t give yourself too much credit; you don’t deserve it. We just want to make sure you remain at an arm’s length.


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