New Delhi, Oct 12 (PTI) Congress MP from Amritsar Gurjit Singh Aujla urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday for resumption of trade between India and Pakistan and other central asian countries and bringing a new trade policy that is more acceptable in the post-COVID pandemic world.
In a letter to the prime minister, Aujla said the bilateral trade between India and Pakistan is languishing at around USD 2.5 billion annually while the potential, according to the World Bank, is USD 37 billion.
'Therefore, in order to give a fresh start to the agriculture and economic rejuvenation of the region, I request your good office to consider opening of diplomatic channels for the resumption of trade and also for a fresh trade policy more acceptable in the post pandemic world,' he said in a letter.
The Congress leader pointed out that the border district of Amritsar has suffered immensely due to the imposition of 200-per cent customs duty on imports from Pakistan in February 2019, the reckless termination of trade in August 2019 by Islamabad, the COVID-19 pandemic and now, with the introduction of the new farm laws.
He also called for considering making Punjab the centre of the India-Pakistan relationship, fortifying the trade routes running through the state.
'This would allow the agricultural products originating in Indian Punjab to get a preferential market access in Pakistan, thus benefitting the farmers of Punjab,' Aujla said.
The direct impact of a disruption in border trade is felt the most in Punjab, especially among the over 20,000 families in Amritsar dependent on this trade, he said.
Aujla said Amritsar's local economy has suffered a loss of nearly Rs 30 crore earned every month from the border trade.
He said after the opening of the Kartarpur corridor, the possibility of looking at bilateral relations from a different perspective has emerged. PTI SKC RC