Pakistan textile tycoons set up with the current India-Pakistan trade as border tension continues to hinder relations between the two countries. The current situation has started affecting business communities as Pakistanis are facing difficulties in obtaining Indian visas.
Pakistan and India, those who were optimistic for a future reconciliation are now left to second guess.
IBA Director Dr Ishrat Husain at a recently held ceremony said that he was less optimistic today about India-Pakistan trade compared to the time when Manmohan Singh was leading India.
Some textile tycoons feel that things have deteriorated pretty quickly since Narendra Modi came to power. More than one textile exporter commented that they would avoid visiting India in the current antagonistic environment.
Except for a few prominent businessmen, majority are not receiving their visas. This deliberate attempt from the new Indian government speaks volumes for what it is going to do in the future, according to a Pakistani businessperson, who regularly visits India.
It is not the first time in the last few years, during which the two hostile neighbours tried moving forward to an era of liberalized trade, the two countries are locking horns.
Last year, the bilateral trade between India and Pakistan grew by over 20% to reach around $2.5 billion. The bilateral trade can sharply jump to $6 billion in the next few years if the two countries facilitate each otherâ€™s exports.
At present, most of the trade between India and Pakistan takes place via Dubai and its volume is estimated to be well over $4 billion.
Some Pakistani businesspersons, especially those who wanted to see swift developments on Pak-India trade, believe the Nawaz Sharif government has missed the train.
Looking at the hawkish stand of the new Indian government on different issues, they say, it was a tactical mistake on Nawaz Sharifâ€™s part when he put on hold important trade decisions for the new government.
The present government, known for its pro-business policies, wanted liberalized trade with India but, like many of its policies, it moved slowly at this front too.
While, Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan said that Pakistan will continue to trade with India despite current border tensions, both countries are bound to face serious problems whenever they sit to discuss the most favoured nation status and other major trade issues.
The current situation has gone more than one step backward where the leaders of the two countries are trading hostile statements in place of commodities.
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