Trade talks begin; Pakistan asks India to have “trust faith”

New Delhi: Amidst high expectations by India on Most Favoured Nation MFN status, Pakistan Monday asked New Delhi to have “trust and faith” in it, as “times have changed” and Islamabad wants complete normalization of bilateral trade. India said, there is a clear political desire to “walk the talk” with its neighbouring country.

The mutual assurances were handed out by Commerce Secretaries of the two countries, who began their two-day talks for ensuring normal bilateral trade here, Press Trust of India PTI reported. Armed with a “political backing and mandate, Zafar Mahmood said in his opening remarks, “I want to assure you that please have trust and faith in the process (normalization of trade). Times have changed. World is coming closer”.

Mahmood, who is having a second round of talks with his Indian counterpart in the last six months said, he is looking forward to official level discussions “in a spirit of mutual cooperation and confidence”. In Pakistan, besides common people and businessmen, political leadership wants normalization of bilateral trade, he added, according to PTI.

Indian Commerce Secretary Rahun Khullar, while welcoming Pakistan’s decision to grant MFN status to India, said “expectations from these talks are running high…” as the people including business communities and politicians want a breakthrough and lay a foundation for preferential trading arrangements. “With such clear political vision, we are now obliged to walk the talk,” he said.

India granted MFN status to Pakistan in 1996. Islamabad, announced to grant WTO- compliant regime for Delhi on November 2.

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