Modi to chair high-level meet to review MFN status to Pakistan

PTI9_23_2016_000085B Prime Minister Narendra Modi | PTI

All eyes are on a high-level meeting to be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday to review the 'Most Favoured Nation' granted to Pakistan. The meeting comes amid speculations that India may withdraw the MFS status to Pakistan in the wake of a terror attack on an army camp in Uri on September 18.

Officials from the external affairs ministry and commerce ministry are expected to attend the meeting.

The MFN status was accorded in 1996 as per India's commitments as a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). According to the MFN principle of the WTO's General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)—to which India is a signatory/contracting party—each of the WTO member countries (including India and Pakistan in this case), should "treat all the other members equally as 'most-favoured' trading partners."

Tension between India and Pakistan escalated after terrorists, believed to be from Pakistan, stormed the army camp in Uri and killed 28 soldiers. Four militants were also killed in the ensuing gun battle.

India has already launched a diplomatic offensive against Pakistan aiming at globally isolating the neighbouring country over its alleged support of cross-border terrorism. India has decided to pull out of the Saarc summit scheduled to be held in Islamabad in November. Three other countries—Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan—also have joined India to boycott the summit.

Meanwhile, New Delhi is reviewing the Indus Waters Treaty and looking for ways of increasing its use of waters. In a high-level meeting, Modi said “water and blood can’t flow at the same time”.  The meeting decided to suspend further water talks with Pakistan and increase the utilisation of rivers flowing through Kashmir to maximise India’s share.

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