India-Pakistan trade relations are abysmally low accounting for less than half a per cent of India's total global trade involving both exports and imports, apex industry body ASSOCHAM has said.
Out of India's total merchandise trade of USD 641 billion in 2015-16, Pakistan accounted for a meagre USD 2.67 billion, of this India's exports to the neighbouring country amounted to USD 2.17 billion, or 0.83 per cent of the total Indian outward shipments while imports were less than USD 500 million, or 0.13 per cent of total inward shipments.
"In all, trade with Pakistan was equivalent to 0.41 per cent of India's global merchandise commerce," said Mr D.S. Rawat, secretary general of ASSOCHAM.
"Thus, the MFN (Most Favoured Nation) status or no MFN has not made much of a difference on the bilateral trade, while India has granted Pakistan the MFN status, Islamabad had not responded but even with the MFN status, Pakistan's exports to India remained less than half a billion dollar," said Mr Rawat.
He said that for political reasons, the businesses have not been cultivating interest in each other's country.
"Going forward, as things stand today, it is almost no movement seen in the immediate future. Even the symbolic presence of Pakistan exhibitors at the annual India International Trade Fair (IITF) in November in New Delhi is not expected whether or not formal ties are snapped or not, given the present state of affairs," said Mr Rawat.
On its part, India Inc is fully and solidly behind Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi for steering India's interest in the best possible directions. "The strategic decisions are fully the domain of the government which enjoys the full backing of the nation," the ASSOCHAM said.
Even as India was grappling with the global slowdown, its merchandise exports were USD 261 billion in 2015-16, while imports were USD 380 billion. India's main exports markets are the European Union, the US, Africa and the South East Asia. "There has been fair amount of activity in Latin America as well."