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Explained: Downgrading Indo-Pak ties — what this means, when has it happened earlier

The development comes a day after the Parliament adopted a resolution scrapping special status to J&K under Article 370 and passed a bill bifurcating the state into two Union territories — Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

By: Explained Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: August 9, 2019 11:26:19 am
Indo-Pak ties: This is not the first time that India and Pakistan are downgrading ties.

A day after the Modi government abolished Jammu & Kashmir’s special status and downgraded the state to two Union Territories, Pakistan’s National Security Committee (NSC) has taken the decision to downgrade diplomatic ties with New Delhi, among other steps to protest India’s actions in Kashmir.

“Our ambassadors will no longer be in New Delhi and their counterparts here will also be sent back,” Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi was quoted as telling ARY television, by Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper.

According to PTI, Indian High Commissioner in Pakistan Ajay Bisaria has been expelled and Pakistan will not send its High Commissioner-designate to New Delhi. However, The Indian Express has learnt that Bisaria has not yet been formally asked to leave. Read this in Bangla

This is not the first time that India and Pakistan are downgrading ties. In 2001, India pulled out Vijay Nambiar, it’s high commissioner to Islamabad after the JeM attack on Parliament. Pakistan reciprocated by pulling out its high commissioner Ashraf Jehangir Qazi.

The two Deputy high commissioners held the fort for more than a year in the respective capitals.

In 2003, India expelled Jalil Abbas Jillani, Deputy high commissioner and Pakistan’s acting high commissioner, from New Delhi, accusing him of espionage. Pakistan retaliated by sending back the Indian acting high commissioner Sudhir Vyas.

Full diplomatic relations resumed later in 2003 when Pakistan appointed Aziz Ahmed Khan to Delhi as high commissioner and India sent Shiv Shankar Menon to Islamabad.

Both India and Pakistan also decided to downgrade the strength of their respective missions to 51, half of the full strength. There were other actions at the time as well. India had suspended air, train and bus links to Pakistan.

This time, it is Pakistan that has announced its decision to recall its envoy and expel the Indian High Commissioner. Pakistan has also announced other decisions taken at Wednesday’s National Security Council meeting.

As reported by Pakistan newspaper Dawn, these are the suspension of bilateral trade, review of bilateral arrangement, taking India’s actions in Kashmir to the United Nations, and observing August 14 in solidarity with Kashmiris.

The India-Pakistan official bilateral trade is worth about $2 billion. According to a recent report by ICRIER, it peaked to about $ 2.5 billion, but fell again after the Uri attack, recovering a little to slump again due to the 200 per cent duty imposed on imports from Pakistan after the Pulwama attack.

India’s top exports to Pakistan are chemicals and textiles, accounting for almost 70 per cent of the bilateral trade. Pakistan’s top exports to India are vegetable fats and oils, and minerals, accounting for about 70 per cent of its trade with India.

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