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Pak, Bangla fears about open trade with India misplaced: Sinha

Zee News, India

Pak, Bangla fears about open trade with India misplaced: Sinha

3 June 2007

Shimla: Describing Bangladesh and Pakistan’s fears about having open trade with India as "completely misplaced", former External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha on Sunday asked them to understand the logic of mutual economic benefits which should triumph over politics.

"I have no doubt in my mind that fears of Pakistan and Bangladesh about having open trade with India are completely misplaced," Sinha said addressing the South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA) conference here on its concluding day.

"India has had Preferential or Free Trade Agreement with Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives for a long time. We have a Preferential Trade Agreement with Afghanistan and had a Free Trade Pact with Sri Lanka recently. I do not understand why free trade with India should be a problem only for Pakistan and Bangladesh," the BJP leader said.

Rolling out figures of 2005, he said Bangladesh’s trade deficit with India was almost similar to that with China.

Similarly, Pakistan had nearly US two billion trade deficit with China and a deficit of only USD 240 million with India.

"China is not considered a threat to Pakistan and Bangladesh, India is," Sinha lamented.

"I feel dismayed therefore that Tata’s USD 3 billion investment in Bangladesh could not go through," he said adding, there was "no greater CBM (confidence building measures) than trade, technology and investment".

"Let us leave historical baggage behind and together forge a common and bright future," he said.