India, Pak to open Kashmir trade today after 60 years

October 21st, 2008 - 1:25 pm ICT by ANI  

Mirpur, Oct 21 (ANI): India and Pakistan are due to open cross border trade from today. Truck loads of commodities from both the countries will cross the Line of Control (LoC) dividing Kashmir . It is being described as yet another confidence building measure between the two neighbours.

The decision to allow limited trade, taken only last month, symbolises attempts to solve the Kashmir dispute by creating soft borders allowing free movement of goods and people.

On Tuesday, 15 trucks with specified gift items would leave from each side to cross the LoC through the two designated routes.

While the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad route will become functional on Tuesday, there will only be a symbolic launch on the second route between Poonch and Rawalakot, which would formally open for trade on October 30, reported the Daily Times.

Under the agreement, trucks will cross the LoC at the two designated points twice a week, and no customs duty would be imposed on the traded goods. The traders on both sides would be conducting business through barter, 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 regions only surface link with the rest of the world before the partition. The route also makes business sense, as it is all-weather and shorter than the only road coming from India , which snakes through the Hindu-majority Jammu region and is often blocked by snow in winter. (ANI)

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