Pakistan on Tuesday said that the process of according non-discriminatory market access (NDMA) to India will resume after the bilateral talks between the two nations begin.
“Let the bilateral engagement resume. Our two PMs have met and all the issues were discussed and we hope that that things will be carried forward when the time comes,” Abdul Basit, High Commissioner of Pakistan in New Delhi, said in reply to a question on granting most favoured nation (MFN) status to India.
He was speaking at the curtain-raiser of Pakistan’s life-style exhibition, which will begin in September.
Playing on the popular BJP slogan, Basit said, “I have no reason to doubt for a moment that acche din aa rahe hain”, adding that people of both the countries have given huge mandate to their leaders to create a better understanding between the two countries.
Last month, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who was invited by Narendra Modi to attend his swearing-in ceremony, had discussed issues across the spectrum to further strengthen ties.
An official said that commerce ministers of both the countries have “agreed to have bilateral talks on the sidelines of SAFTA inter-ministerial to be held on July 24”. In the meeting, commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman is expected to discuss all issues from reducing Safta sensitive list to the grant of NDMA with her Pakistani counterpart Khurram Dastgir Khan. Pakistan is yet to grant NDMA status to India owing to dissenting voices in its Cabinet, while bilateral talks have been put on hold since last year following escalation in LoC violence.
Present during the occasion, Arvind Mehta, joint secretary in the commerce ministry, called for reduction in non-tariff barriers. He said that at government-level, the discussions are in the final stage “where we are so close to making the final steps that we have been working upon that the next time when you come, I hope that all your (Pakistani businesses) textiles items and other items come at no more than 5 per cent customs duty”.