Most Favoured Nation status to India to boost economic development in South Asian region: Experts

Singapore: The move by Pakistan to provide Most Favoured Nation MFN status to India would boost economic development and conflict resolution efforts in South Asian region, experts said here Monday.

The tentative steps by Pakistan to give MFN status to India would boost development in South Asian countries, said A R Jumabhoy, a leading Singapore businessman of Indian origin. Speaking at function to launch his book, ”India, Pakistan & Bangladesh: Changing Dynamics of Regional Integration, SAARC & Beyond,” he said it would not only boost development in the region, but gains through freer trade and regional cooperation “can have a crucial spillover effect and serve as a powerful means for conflict resolution of longstanding issues”.

Dr S Narayan, head of Research and visiting Senior Research Professor at Institute of South Asian Studies ISAS, a think tank division of National University of Singapore, felt there would be a major change in economic integration in next 10 years.

Echoing positive trade and economic developments in the region in years ahead, experts highlighted expansion of trade from individual countries of the region to markets outside South Asia. These trends show prosperous bilateral trade with international markets which, once combined regionwide, would add power to South Asian markets. They called for a change in current pattern of South Asian countries routing trades through western financial institutions.

Pakistan has said process of giving India MFN status is expected to be completed by October next year. Following talks between their Commerce Ministers, India & Pakistan recently unveiled a slew of measures to normalize trade relations and to boost trade from US$2 billion to $6 billion in three years.

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