Decision on MFN to help India-Pak ties: Sharma



New Delhi: India on Wednesday "deeply appreciated" Pakistan's decision to grant New Delhi the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status, stating the move will also help improve political ties between the two neighbours.

"We deeply appreciate this positive gesture that Pakistan has taken," Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said here.

Sharma spoke to his Pakistani counterpart Makhdoom Amin Fahim immediately after the decision taken by the Pakistani Cabinet.

When asked whether the move would help improve political relationship between the countries, he said: "...It will be influencing definitely in positive manner. We need to sustain this in the coming months."

He said that when bilateral economic engagement improves, it brings prosperity and growth to both the partners. Sharma said the Makhdoom's September visit here was a major step forward in this direction.

Under the MFN status, Pakistan will treat India at par with its other favoured trading partners. India has already granted this status to the neighbouring country way back in 1996.

"It will be beneficial for both the countries. It opens up new pathways of alleviating our economic engagement to a much higher level," the minister said.

In 2010-11, the bilateral trade stood at USD 2.6 billion.

The India-Pakistan commercial negotiations were revived after almost four years in April. The bilateral economic ties were badly hit after November 2008 terror attack in Mumbai.

In April, the engagements were revived with Commerce Secretary level talks in Islamabad. These were followed by Fahim's visit to New Delhi in September.

Pakistan Commerce Secretary Zafar Mahmood would be visit India in mid-November for further review of economic ties.

PTI