India, Pakistan discuss transport links in Kashmir

July 18th, 2008 - 1:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, July 18 (DPA) Senior Indian and Pakistani officials Friday began parleys on trade and travel across the two halves of Kashmir, officials said. The meeting was earlier scheduled for July 10 but had to be postponed because the Indian diplomat who was to lead it flew to Afghan capital Kabul after the deadly suicide attack on the Indian embassy that killed at least 60 people.

Aizaz Ahmed Chaudhry, director general in Pakistan’s foreign minsitry, was heading the Pakistani delegation while the Indian side was led by External Affairs Ministry’s Joint Secretary T.C.A. Raghavan.

The talks focussed on launch of a truck service between Muzaffarabad and Srinagar. Both sides will also consider proposals to facilitate travel across the Line of Control (LoC) by opening more routes for passenger bus services.

The two countries launched a peace process in 2004 and since then had taken several confidence-building measures to normalise relations. However, no headway has been made towards settling the decades-old Kashmir dispute.

As part of the process, the two countries are also observing a ceasefire on LoC for the last four years, but in recent months there have been occasional violations of the truce.

In May, India alleged that one of its soldiers was killed in “unprovoked firing” by Pakistani troops in Poonch district along the border.

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