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Undoing India-Pakistan mistrust

The Covid-19 pandemic offers an opportunity to normalise trade between the two countries, since both are searching for ways to restore livelihoods that have been destroyed by lockdowns

File photo of trucks at the Attari border. There is a huge gap between actual trade (prior to the additional barriers imposed in 2019) and the potential
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File photo of trucks at the Attari border. There is a huge gap between actual trade (prior to the additional barriers imposed in 2019) and the potential

Sanjay Kathuria
The ongoing Coronavirus-induced humanitarian crisis affords India and Pakistan an opportunity to bring trade back into play, and to thereby chip away at deep mistrust on both sides. Both economies are searching for ways of gradually restoring livelihoods that have been shattered by the lockdowns. This is where bilateral trade, virtually suspended since 2019, comes into the picture. 

Trade relations between the two largest economies of South Asia have always been turbulent. For a few years after Partition, India was Pakistan’s largest trading partner. But trade plummeted after the 1965 and 1971 wars. In 1996, India accorded “Most Favoured Nation” (MFN)
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First Published: May 09 2020 | 7:59 PM IST

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