- D1: If Pakistan gives MFN Status to India
- D2: Reforms in Ministry of External Affairs
- D3: APF-Human rights conference 2014
Q. What is MFN? What benefits could Indian gain by MFN-status in Pakistan? Why hasn’t the deal materialized yet? (200 words)
- ‘Most Favoured Nation’ status is the first step towards trade agreements between two countries.
- MFN means every time a country lowers a trade barrier for its most favoured nation, then it has to do treat all its trading partners in the same manner — whether rich or poor, weak or strong, large or small.
- In 1997, India granted MFN status to Pakistan, but they have not reciprocated back.
- Pakistan still maintains a negative list of ~1000 thousand items that India cannot export, including agricultural goods, textile and automobile parts.
- If Pakistan gave MFN status to India, we could export these items in their domestic market.
- Thus, MFN status can facilitate economic prosperity and betterment of relations. The economic-interdependency may also thawing tension between India-Pak.
- As such, Pakistan was to grant the MFN status to India by December 2012. But the process got delayed due to active lobbying by Pakistan’s agricultural groups, textile and automobile industries. 40% of the Pakistani workforce is employed in Textile industry alone. They fear the flood of Indian goods will render them jobless.
- The unstable political situation and tension at the Indo-Pak border have further aggravated the situation and delayed the consensus.
- Although Pakistan high commissioner has assured MFN status will be given after the formation of new government.
(Interview Q) What reforms are necessary in the Indian Foreign Service to help them effectively handle the diplomatic issues of contemporary times?
Restructure Ministry of External Affairs via following:
- Empower Foreign Secretary to handle economic and trade related matters.
- Create new political-military affairs division within the MEA.
- Allow officers from all India and Central services, intelligence and the armed forces in it. (and not just IFS officers.)
- Assign a dedicated trade expert with every Indian mission / embassy.
- At present, main focus of IFS training is “protocol, discipline, hierarchy”, out of tune with contemporary realities.
- India’s foreign policy should be inclusive, should not confine only within MEA. Get shared opinion of various ministries and Departments
- + involve academia and think tanks.
- 1991: UN’s Paris principles- to establish norms for various human rights bodies across world.
- Later, an International coordination Committee of National Human Rights Institutions setup.
- This Committee has 4 regional networks, one of them is Asia Pacific forum (APF) with 21 member-nations.
- 2014, Sep: India’s national human rights commission headed the conference of this body, at New Delhi.
Outcomes of this Human rights conference
- Until now NHRCs have focused on human rights violations by state actors
- But, economic scenario has changed, we’ve to focus on human rights violations by companies- pollution, tribal-displacement, sweatshops, labour exploitation and negative-externalities created by MNCs.
- For Prevention of Torture , we’ll create a working group including the NGOs.
- Members agreed to use a five-pronged strategy to protect human rights from 2015 to 2020: Gender equality, peace , security, Business, Vulnerable groups-children, women, the disabled, the elderly and displaced persons.
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