India-Pakistan Current Affairs - 2019
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Imports from Pakistan to India have declined by 92% amounting to USD 2.84 Million in March 2019 after imposition of 200% customs duties on all products. The strong economic action against Pakistan was taken following Pulwama terror attack.
- Background: On February 2019, in aftermath of Pulwama terror attack for which Pakistan based JeM terror group claimed responsibility, India revoked the MFN (Most Favoured Nation) status given to Pakistan. This further led to strong economic action against Pakistan such as India raised customs duty to 200% on all goods imported from Pakistan.
- During 2018-19 fiscal year for January-March period, the imports from Pakistan declined by 47%, about USD 53.65 Million.
- India’s Export: In March 2019, India’s exports to Pakistan also dipped by about 32% amounting to over USD171 million. However, Indian exports grew by 7.4% (over USD 2 billion) during 2018-19.
- Commodities Imported: India raised 200% custom duty on goods imported from neighbouring country, including cotton, fresh fruits, cement, petroleum products and mineral. But the main commodities imported during month of March 2019 from Pakistan includes knitted fabrics, wool, articles of apparel and clothing, preparation of vegetables spices, chemicals, man-made filaments, and plastics.
- Exception: As per some experts, keeping in mind that importing goods at 200% customs duties would not be viable for anyone, thus government has allowed few domestic manufacturing exporters to avail Nil(0%) import duty benefit under Advance Authorisation Scheme to import products, especially raw materials from Pakistan.
About Most Favoured Nation Status
- Under the MFN pact, a World Trade Organisation (WTO) member country is obliged to treat other trading nation (to whom it has granted MFN status) in a non-discriminatory manner, especially with regard to customs duty and other levies.
- The MFN status was granted by India to Pakistan in 1996, but India was not granted the same from Pakistan.
Indian Air Force (IAF) signed Rs.300 crore deal with Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, an Israeli defence firm to procure a batch of SPICE 2000 guided bombs.
- The order for bombs was placed under Special Financial Powers given by government to armed forces for emergency purchases. The bombs are expected to be supplied within next three months.
- IAF used SPICE bombs for a non-military, pre-emptive strike on terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed’s (JeM) terrorist training camp in Pakistan’s Balakot region on February 2019. This Indian strike on JeM camp was conducted 12 days after JeM claimed responsibility for suicide attack on CRPF convoy in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama region in which 40 CRPF soldiers were killed.
- Following Pulwama attack in February 2019, government granted emergency powers to all three defence services (Indian Army, Indian Air Force and Indian Navy) for procuring weapons and military hardware so as to enhance their operational preparedness along border with Pakistan.
- Government also eased certain rules to cut delays in military purchase such as allowing three services to procure required weapons and equipment from a single vendor.
About SPICE 2000
- The SPICE stands for Smart, Precise Impact and Cost-Effective. It is guidance and maneuvering kit manufactured by Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.
- SPICE can overcome errors in locating target, GPS jamming and also reduces collateral damage.
- SPICE kit adds a sophisticated guidance system that consists of satellite guidance, inertial navigation and electro-optical sensors which can be used for pinpoint accuracy and adds control fins to a conventional unguided bomb (called as free-fall bomb/gravity bomb).
- It is reportedly biggest conventional bomb that can be delivered by IAF and is used on French-origin Mirage-2000 jets.
- The SPICE kit has two variants SPICE-1000 kit and SPICE-2000 kit. These two are difficult to detect by most ground-based radars.
- SPICE-1000: meant for 500kg bombs and has glide range of about 100km.
- SPICE-2000: meant for 1,000kg bombs and has a glide range of about 60km.
Tags: Balakot Strike • CRPF • Defence Procurement Deal • India-Israel • India-Pakistan • Indian Air Force • Indian Army • Indian Navy • Israel's Rafael Advanced Defense Systems • Pulwama Attack • Rafael Advanced Defense Systems • Sophisticated Guidance System • SPICE 2000 Bombs • SPICE kit • SPICE-1000 • SPICE-2000