“The operations aimed at neutralising the terrorists have since ceased,” he said. There were no plans for “continuation of further operations,” he added.
Within minutes of the sensational announcement, the Indian stock market slumped on fears of an escalation in border tensions; the BSE Sensex ended the day down 465 points, or 1.64 per cent. Finance Ministry officials, however, sought to calm investors, claiming that the reaction would be temporary. “We expect stock markets and currency markets to stabilise in a few days. Terrorism is a threat to economic stability and growth. The surgical strikes will have a positive impact on financial stability and growth,” said Shaktikanta Das, Economic Affairs Secretary.
The government convened an all-party meeting later in the day and secured broad support for the military action. The Congress, the principal Opposition party, congratulated the armed forces and offered its support to the Centre in battling cross-border terrorism. Pakistan, however, refuted India’s claim. “There has been no surgical strike by India, instead there had been cross-border fire initiated and conducted by India,” the Pakistan army said.
Review of MFN deferred
The resort to the military option, which came following a clamour for decisive action against Pakistan following the recent terrorist attack on the Army camp at Uri, appeared to give the Modi government a breather to take a more measured stand on bilateral trade and economic relations. A meeting that had been called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to Pakistan for Thursday was deferred to next week as Modi presided over a crucial meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS).
That meeting, according to sources, discussed the ‘surgical attacks’ and weighed the spectrum of options before India. The Commerce Ministry now has more time to prepare a detailed brief on the MFN status. “There should not be an impulsive decision on withdrawing the MFN status,” a Commerce Ministry official told media. “It could harm Indian exporters as we export much more than we import from Pakistan. Stopping trade would also lead to unemployment at the border areas, which is a serious concern.”
Dragging Pakistan to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) for not extending MFN status to India could be a better idea, the official said. But it would not have an immediate negative impact on Pakistan as a dispute could go on for two years at the multilateral forum.
Credits The Hindu Business Line