More cross-border CBMs will enhance trade: Pranab

April 30th, 2008 - 4:50 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, April 30 (IANS) Ahead of talks between India and Pakistan next month, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee Wednesday pushed for greater cross-border confidence building measures (CBMs) to promote trade and popular contacts. “Apart from encouraging people-to-people contacts, this step would improve market access for products,” Mukherjee told the Rajya Sabha in reply to a question on cross-border CBMs.

“The prime minister and the president of Pakistan, during the latter’s visit to India in April 2005, had agreed to pursue further measures to enhance interaction and cooperation across the LoC (Line of Control), including trade and truck service on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad route,” he said.

The intensification of cross-border CBMs will figure prominently in discussions between India and Pakistan when Mukherjee goes to Islamabad May 21 to launch the fifth round of composite dialogue between the two countries.

India has been pushing for accelerated travel and trade across the LoC and backs increasing the frequency of the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawalakot bus services by making these weekly.

New Delhi has also pitched for an early launch of bus services between Kargil in Ladakh and Skardu in Northern Areas under Pakistani control, and Jammu and Sialkot in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir (PoK).

In a round table on Kashmir held in Srinagar last week, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh backed these proposals and advocated opening more cross-border routes to take the India-Pakistan dialogue process forward to a level where the two countries could work jointly to end their economic and other problems.

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