India, Pakistan open Cross-LoC trade after 60 years

October 21st, 2008 - 6:39 pm ICT by ANI  

Srinagar, Oct 21 (ANI): India and Pakistan restored cross-LoC trade on Tuesday by launching truck services on the Srinagar- Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawalkote roads, scripting a new chapter in bilateral ties.
Jammu and Kashmir Governor N N Vohra flagged off goods laden trucks making the resumption of trade ties between the divided parts of Kashmir after 60 years.
Three trucks carrying fruits and vegetables were also flagged off by H H Tayabji, Adviser to the Governor from the Rangar International Trade Terminal in Chakan-de-Bagh in Poonch District.
The decision to allow limited trade, taken only last month, symbolises attempts to solve the Kashmir dispute by creating ‘’soft borders” to allow the free movement of goods and people.
While the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad route becomes functional today, there will only be a symbolic launch on the second route between Poonch and Rawalakot, which would formally open for trade on October 30.
Under the agreement, trucks will cross the LoC at the two designated points twice a week. No customs duty would be imposed on traded goods. Traders on both sides will conduct business through the barter system, as no banking facility has been established for the purpose so far.
A total of 21 items have been approved for import and export by the Joint Working Group of India and Pakistan, while two facilitation centres on either side of the LoC have been established to regulate trade.
The Srinagar-Muzaffarabad route, in disuse for the last six decades, was the region’’s only surface link with the rest of the world before the partition. The route also makes business sense, as it is all-weather friendly and shorter than the only road coming from India. (ANI)

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