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India Withdraws Most Favoured Nation Status For Pakistan After Pulwama Attack

The Finance Minister also attended a CCS meeting, which was convened in the aftermath of the deadly terror attack on security forces in Pulwama district on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, in which at least 40 Central Police Reserve Force (CRPF) personnel were killed.


Updated:February 15, 2019, 2:11 PM IST

New Delhi: Less than 24 hours after the terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district on February 14 that killed at least 40 CRPF officials, India withdrew the Most Favoured Nation (MNF) status accorded to Pakistan.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his first day of resuming office addressed the press following a Cabinet Committee on Securities (CCS) meeting on Friday saying that the MFN status to Pakistan stands withdrawn.

The CCS meeting was convened in the aftermath of the deadly terror attack on security forces in Pulwama district on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, in which at least 40 Central Police Reserve Force (CRPF) personnel were killed.

Jaitley said that a detailed assessment of the incidents leading to the attack was made in the meeting. Several details were discussed in the CCS, all of which cannot be shared, he said.

He said that the government will go for all diplomatic steps to ensure isolation of Pakistan in the diplomatic community.

"The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) will initiate all possible diplomatic steps that have to be taken to ensure complete isolation of Pakistan, of which incontrovertible evidence is available, for having a direct hand in this gruesome incident," Jaitley said.

He also said that the MEA will engage with the international community to make sure that the Comprehensive Convention on Terrorism is now adopted.

"As far as the security forces are concerned, they will be taking all possible steps to ensure that full security is maintained and that those who have committed and actively supported this heinous act are made to pay a heavy cost," he added.

A wreath-laying ceremony for the martyred soldiers will be held in Srinagar on Friday in which Home Minister Rajnath Singh will also be present. Also attending the meeting will be Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik.

A review meeting with top security and intelligence officers to find out the security lapses that causes the attack will also be held.

Jaitley said that the CCS extended its deep gratitude to those who made this sacrifice and expressed condolences with bereaved families.

The CRPF convoy comprised 78 buses in which around 2,500 personnel were travelling from Jammu to Srinagar.

A bus, in which 42 CRPF personnel were travelling, was extensively damaged in the blast which was followed by firing on the vehicle.

UN-designated, Pakistan-based terrorist group Jaish-e-Muhammad claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was carried out by a suicide bomber, according to a local news agency.

MFN is a treatment accorded to a trade partner to ensure non-discriminatory trade between two countries vis-a-vis other trade partners. The importance of MFN is shown in the fact that it is the first clause in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). Under WTO rules, a member country cannot discriminate between its trade partners. If a special status is granted to a trade partner, it must be extended to all members of the WTO.

India granted MFN status to Pakistan in 1996, a year after the formation of WTO.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s revision of the MFN treatment accorded to Pakistan will effectively close down trade further between the two countries.

Bilateral trade between India and Pakistan stands at USD 2.61 billion. The major commodities and goods in which both countries trade include cement, sugar, organic chemicals, cotton, man-made filaments, vegetables and certain fruits and tubers, mineral fuels, mineral oils, salts, earths, stone, lime, dry fruits, steel and plastering material.

In a literal explanation, MFN doesn’t mean preferential treatment. Instead it means non-discriminatory trade that ensures that the country receiving MFN status will not be in a disadvantageous situation compared to the granter’s other trade partners. When a country receives MFN status, it is expected to raise trade barriers and decrease tariffs. It is also expected to open up the market to trade in more commodities and a free flow of goods.

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