After the deadly attack on CRPF officers by the
Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists yesterday in Pulwama in Jammu and Kashmir, the government has withdrawn the 'most favoured nation' status to Pakistan under the World Trade Organisation rules, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said after the cabinet committee on security meeting concluded.
Modi assured the nation that all involved in the Pulwama attack that killed
44 CRPF jawans will be punished, adding that Pakistan has made a huge mistake and will have to pay.
"If our neighbour thinks that the type of strategies they are doing, they will be able to take away peace from India, they are highly mistaken," Modi said in a press conference this morning.
Our neighbouring country thinks such terror attacks can weaken us, but their plans will not materialise, Modi said. He urged other nations to come together to crush terrorism.
However, Pakistan on Thursday said the terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district is "a matter of grave concern" even as it strongly rejected Indian media and government's allegations of the country's link to the strike "without" probe.
"India’s security forces will take all possible steps to ensure security. Efforts are underway to track down people responsible for the attack," Modi said.
He added that the Indian security forces have been given the full freedom and would like to warn the terrorist agencies that they have committed a big mistake and will have to pay for it.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley reiterated Modi's statement by saying that the Ministry of External Affairs will initiate diplomatic steps to ensure complete isolation of Pakistan in the international community.
The government will convene an all-party meeting on Saturday to discuss the issue of Pulwama, Jaitley added after the CCS meet. "Those who committed this heinous act or supported it will be made to pay a heavy cost," Jaitley said.
"The home minister will call an all-party meeting tomorrow to brief them about the incident," the Prime Minister said, adding that all political parties should unite together against enemies.
"I understand the sentiments of those criticising us but I would want to urge them that it is an emotional time and ask them to stay away from political one-upmanship," Modi said.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi backed Modi government's efforts in the aftermath of Pulwama attack and said that the entire opposition stands with the government and the Indian security forces.
"Those who have done this should not feel that they can harm the country, it is a time of mourning. Terrorism tries to divide nation, we can't be divided by any power." Rahul Gandhi said.
Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh condemned the attacks on the CRPF jawans on Friday saying that, "Terrorism is scourge with which we can never compromise."
In the worst ever terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir since militancy erupted in 1989, a suicide bomber on Thursday rammed his SUV packed with explosives into a CRPF bus on the Srinagar-Jammu highway.
The Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) claimed responsibility for the horror and released a video clip of the suicide bomber, a 'commander' identified as Adil Ahmad Dar, which it claimed was shot before the young man carried out the strike in Lethpora, about 30 km from here.
Most Favoured Nation Status
India granted the MFN status to Pakistan way back in in 1996, but the neighbouring country has not yet reciprocated.
The MFN status was accorded under WTO's General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). Both India and Pakistan are signatories to this; and are members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which means they have to treat each other and the other WTO member countries as favoured trading partners in terms of imposing customs duties on goods.
Removal of this status means India can now enhance customs duties to any level on goods coming from Pakistan, a trade expert said.
Total India-Pakistan trade has increased marginally to $2.41 billion in 2017-18 as against $2.27 billion in 2016-17. India imported goods worth $488.5 million in 2017-18 and exported goods worth $1.92 billion in that fiscal.
Under MFN pact, a WTO member country is obliged to treat the other trading nation in a non-discriminatory manner, especially with regard to customs duty and other levies.
India mainly exports cotton, dyes, chemicals, vegetables and iron and steel; while it imports fruits, cement, leather, chemicals and spices.
(With inputs from agencies)