India declines to comment on Paks U-turn on trade2 April 2021
New Delhi: India on Friday declined to comment on Pakistans flip-flop on plans to go for limited imports of sugar and cotton from the country. We have seen reports on this. But as is evident, we are not the right party to whom this question should be directed at, said Arindam Bagchi, Spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). His response came following questions on the issue at a media briefing. In a volte-face, Pakistans Cabinet on Thursday rejected the proposal of a high-powered committee to import cotton and sugar from India. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said there can be no normalisation of ties until New Delhi reverses its decision to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. The somersault came a day after the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) under newly-appointed Finance Minister Hammad Azhar on Wednesday decided to buy the two key items from India, lifting a nearly two-year-long ban on their import from the neighbouring country. Asked whether India is planning to restore the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to Pakistan, Bagchi said he does not have any information on it. India withdrew the MFN status to Pakistan following the Pulwama terror attack in 2019. To a question on whether there was any interaction between External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and his Pakistani counterpart Qureshi in Dushanbe on the sidelines of a conference, the MEA spokesperson said he was not aware of any such interaction with the Pakistani delegation. Both Jaishankar and Qureshi were at the Tajikistan capital earlier this week to attend the Heart of Asia conference. The Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process is an initiative aimed at bringing together all the key stakeholders to bring lasting peace and stability in war-ravaged Afghanistan.