New Delhi: India launched a diplomatic offensive on Friday by announcing the withdrawal of Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status given to Pakistan in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said, “The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) met under the chairmanship of PM Modi to take an assessment and discuss the incident that took place in Pulwama yesterday in which a large number of CRPF personnel sacrificed their lives. The CCS observed two minutes of silence and express its condolences to the bereaved families.”

“The MEA will initiate all possible steps (diplomatic) which are to be taken to ensure complete isolation from the international community of Pakistan,” he added.

What is MFN? The MFN principle of the World Trade Organisation’s General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade says members of the body will treat each other as the most favoured nation. However, it is more about a non-discriminatory trade than favouring one over the other.

India accorded the MFN status to Pakistan in 1996, but the latter didn’t reciprocate the same, citing a big trade imbalance between the two countries. It also cited non-tariff barriers.

However, India’s decision will not seriously dent the trade between the two countries; India-Pakistan trade volume is less than one per cent of India’s total trade.

Since trade ties between the two neighbouring countries are negligible the move will only be symbolic. Reports suggest it could lead to increased illegal trade between the countries.

Meanwhile, the Congress has condemned Thursday’s Pulwama terror attack. Addressing media, Congress President Rahul Gandhi said, “This is a terrible tragedy. This type of violence against our soldiers is absolutely disgusting. We are all standing together with our jawans. No force can divide or break this country.”

Calling it a time of mourning, Rahul said his party stood with the Centre on this.