Trade and Terror are incompatible: Sujatha Singh

New Delhi, Jan.22,: Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh on Wednesday said that a pre requisite for a business activity between India and Pakistan is a terror free environment and added that terror and trade are incompatible

“India remains ready to move ahead on the bilateral trade agenda. However it also needs to be understood that a necessary pre-requisite for dynamic economic activity between our two countries, is an environment free from terror and violence. Trade and terrorism are incompatible. The challenge is to create an environment where we can focus on the trade and the economic agenda, and work towards growing connectivity and linkages between our two economies,” said Sujatha Singh while addressing the Indian Council for Research and International Economic Relations (ICRIER) conference on ‘Normalizing India-Pakistan Trade’.

Noting Pakistan as an exception with whom India had cold trade ties, Singh said, “I do not need to elaborate the significant progress that has been made in enhancing trade and investment relations between India and our other neighbors. The exception, unfortunately, has been Pakistan, for a variety of reasons, much of it hostage to political issues between our two countries which are a legacy of our history and the tragic events surrounding partition.”

Singh also said that there is a need for a political will to implement the required measures for trade.

“The desire is certainly there on both sides, especially at the business level. Our High Commissioner in Islamabad informs me that a decade ago, it would be only major Chambers of Commerce in Pakistan who would be expressing the desire to trade with India. Today he encounters that willingness and readiness in much of Pakistan, including in small towns. This is an encouraging sign,” she added.

Noting that Pakistan is presently in the middle of its economic reforms, Singh said, “I am sure that economists in Pakistan fully understand the opportunities that are ready to be grasped and the additional policy space that will be created if Pakistan’s economy opens up for trade with the largest economy in the region.”

Reacting to arguments made in Pakistan regarding the strong non-tariff barriers in India preventing Pakistan from moving ahead, Singh said, “These are arguments that do not stand up to close scrutiny. While it is true that India must take more steps to liberalize its external sector, it can be no one’s serious argument that the lack of flight connections between Delhi and Lahore, the visa regime operating between the two countries, or India’s quality and safety certification procedures that are accepted around the world, are in some way aimed at creating a regime of non-tariff barriers against Pakistan made goods.” (ANI)