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Some amount of trade with Pakistan conducted through air, sea routes : Anupriya Patel

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NEW DELHI : The Government of India said that some level of trade with Pakistan persists through air and sea routes, although Pakistan has unilaterally ceased all business through land borders.

Smt Anupriya Patel, Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, said in Lok Sabha that while trade through land routes has been halted by Pakistan, transactions continue via sea and air routes.

Previously, trade predominantly occurred through the Attari-Wagah border and Karachi port. However, land trade has ceased, while trade through sea and air routes persists.

Patel specified that trade via these routes involves various Indian ports and cargo complexes, including the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, Inland Container Depot in Tughlakabad, Mundra SEZ, Air Cargo Complex Mumbai, and Air Cargo Complex Hyderabad.

Regarding the potential for trade with Central Asian countries, Patel emphasised that India has not halted trade with Pakistan. However, any trade arrangements with Central Asia necessitate transit through Pakistan’s territory. Thus, she reiterated that the responsibility lies with Pakistan to facilitate trade routes.

“We have not stopped trade with Pakistan. With regard to trade with Central Asia, any of our trade transaction arrangements have to be through Pakistan. So, it is the responsibility of Pakistan to open the trade route”.

Patel highlighted that Pakistan unilaterally imposed the suspension of trade, emphasising that India did not initiate such action. Consequently, Pakistan holds the responsibility for permitting transit through its territory.

Patel said the suspension of trade was “imposed unilaterally” by Pakistan, not by India. “So responsibility lies with Pakistan, as transit will have to take place through their territory,” she said.

Pakistan suspended bilateral trade with India in 2019 and expelled the Indian High Commissioner in response to India’s abrogation of Article 370, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir. India maintains its desire for normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan, contingent upon Islamabad creating an environment free from terrorism and hostility for constructive engagement.

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