India has a trade deficit of US$ 51.1 billion with China. India exports goods worth US$ 10.2 billion to China and imports goods valued at US$ 61.3 billion. India is anxious to bridge the deficit by exporting more of its pharmaceutical, agricultural and information-technology products to China. Likewise China wants to balance impact of United States’ trade restrictions. Both countries discussed their preoccupations at the recent India-China Joint Economic Group meeting. Chinese commerce minister (Zhong Shan) proposed to India’s commerce and industries minister to sign a free-trade agreement. Chinese minister made the offer disregarding Doklam face-off tension and Modi’s reservations on Beijing’s Belt Road.

The Chinese initiative reflects that despite tensions, two countries could promote trade.Let us hope that India softens Kashmir LoC to resume trade.

DJ MALIK,

Rawalpindi, March 27.