With India having withdrawn the 'Most Favoured Nation' (MFN) status to Pakistan after the Pulwama terror attack, the central government has hiked the basic customs duty on all goods imported from the neighbouring country to 200% with immediate effect.
Taking to Twitter on Saturday, Finance Minister Arun Jaitely announced the hike in customs duty and wrote: "India has withdrawn MFN status to Pakistan after the Pulwama incident. Upon withdrawal, basic customs duty on all goods exported from Pakistan to India has been raised to 200% with immediate effect".
Although the Union government says that withdrawing the status will hurt Pakistan at a time when it is struggling financially, the move is mostly symbolic because bilateral trade between the two countries comes up to barely $2 billion a year.
Meanwhile, global pressure is building on Pakistan to act against perpetrators of the attack. Despite Chinese reservations, New Delhi has urged the international community to back the naming of JeM leader Masood Azhar as a "UN-designated terrorist".
The decision to withdraw the status was taken soon after a convoy of CRPF vehicles was targeted by a Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) suicide bomber on the Jammu-Srinagar highway on Thursday, resulting in over 40 deaths. At the same time, the government also announced its plans to initiate diplomatic steps to ensure the complete isolation of Pakistan in the international community.
Earlier, India withdrew the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status accorded to Pakistan in light of the dastardly terror attack in Pulwama on the CRPF in which 40 jawans were martyred, perpetrated by Pakistan-backed Jaish-e- Mohammad terror outfit.
Addressing a briefing immediately after a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his 7, LKM residence, Union Minister Arun Jaitley announced that there was incontrovertible evidence of Pakistan's hand behind the ghastly terror attack, and accordingly, the MEA had been asked to take all possible diplomatic steps to ensure the "complete isolation from the international community of Pakistan", along with withdrawal of the MNF status that had been unilaterally been granted to Pakistan by India.
(With inputs from agencies)