The Pakistan government on Wednesday approved the resumption of trade ties with India in a major step by Islamabad to attempt a revival of relations with New Delhi, Pakistan media reported. The approval comes amidst a renewed push for peace between the two countries.
Pakistan’s cabinet committee on economic affairs gave its nod to importing cotton from India till June 30, 2021, reports said. Approval for sugar imports is also expected soon. Pakistan is looking to procure cotton after local production is estimated to have dropped below six million bales, which would be the lowest in at least 30 years.
India, however, has not yet made any official response and has so far shown only passive interest to Pakistan’s overtures to resume trade. Pakistan had snapped trade ties with India following the August 2019 abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and the division of the erstwhile state into two new Union Territories.
However, the relations between the two nuclear-armed neighbours seem to be on the mend since February as the two nations issued a rare joint statement to respect a 2003 cease-fire agreement along the Line of Control in Kashmir.
In a further sign of thawing relations, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan replied to PM Narendra Modi’s greetings on Pakistan Day with a March 29 letter, in which he called for the creation of an “enabling environment” between the two countries to resolve outstanding issues.
Khan said “people of Pakistan also desire peaceful, cooperative relations with all neighbours, including India” and “we are convinced that durable peace and stability in South Asia is contingent upon resolving all outstanding issues between India and Pakistan, in particular the Jammu & Kashmir dispute”. Pakistan’s army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa also asked India “to bury the past and move forward” in rare comments made this month.