LoC trade in Jammu: Pakistan needs more time, says Menon

October 20th, 2008 - 10:16 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 20 (IANS) A day before India and Pakistan start cross-border trade across the line dividing Jammu and Kashmir, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon Monday indicated that the opening of the Poonch-Rawlakot route may be slightly delayed as Islamabad needs “more time.” “All arrangements are in place. We are ready from our side,” Menon told reporters when asked about the launch of trans-Kashmir trade Tuesday.

“The Pakistan side says they need a little more time. We hope we will be able to open it,” Menon said about the opening of Jammu’s Poonch-Rawlakot route - one of the two points on the LoC on which trade is expected to start, six decades after the two countries snapped commercial ties through the route following the 1948 war.

The launch of the trade across the Line of Control (LoC) - the de facto border that divides Kashmir between the two countries - comes after a meeting between Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New York last month. The trade will also start on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad route in Kashmir.

Vehicles will be allowed to cross the LoC for the first time since 1948, as the trucks are expected to drive inside the Pakistani and Indian territory and unload.

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