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In control

Published Jan 29, 2013 05:34pm

The clashes along the Line of Control, the first of which took place on January 6, prompted fears that tensions between Pakistan and India could escalate, but a ceasefire agreement on January 16 between commanders from both armies has held.

Another attempt to ease the tensions saw trade resuming between the two countries via the LoC. Six Pakistani trucks containing goods crossed into Indian-administered Kashmir on Jan 29, ending the 20-day halt in trade. The resumption is being taken positively by the two countries’ business community, especially after as traders on the Pakistani side have complained that the closure of the key crossing point had cost them 30 million rupees ($300,000) in the wake of the flare-up at the de facto border, which left five soldiers dead.

Head of the traders’ association in Pakistani-administered Kashmir, Kashan Masood, said: “We had placed orders for tomatoes and other vegetables from India. They were rotten and we suffered a loss of 30 million rupees. We are always at risk that our business will suffer whenever tension starts on (the) line of control. We are doing this business at our own risk as we don’t have any guarantee from the authorities.”

To what extent do you think the two governments as well as their armies take into consideration losses in terms of trade on the macro level as well as day to day business on the individual level for the working classes in both countries? Do you think some sort of safeguards should be provided to traders as well as transporters to continue their activities even in times of tension?

The latest development leading to trade resumption comes with the reopening of the Tetrinote-Chakan da Bagh crossing point connecting Indian and Pakistani administered Kashmir. More than 135 stranded and other passengers travelled across the LoC on Jan 28 from the crossing point following its reopening after three weeks.

Pakistani-administered Kashmir’s Trade and Travel Authority Director General Brig (retd) Mohammad Ismail regretted that cross-LoC travel, which had been described as “mother of all confidence-building measures”, had become fragile and dependent on the soldiers stationed on the line of control.

Ismail who says he wants trade and travel to flourish also bemoans the fact that the confidence of “both travellers and traders has become shaky” in the wake of such incidents that have been followed by suspension of day to day business and activity.

Is not providing security measures to travellers also part of a healthy and constructive cross-cultural relationship? Can consistent tourism, business, and trade across the LoC increase the exchange of ideas and nurture the level of trust between the two countries?

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Comments (12) Closed

Jan 30, 2013 07:39am
In order to have any trade between requires a lasting peace. Neither government India nor Pakistan is interested in peace in this region. The only choices we have in front are for masses from both sides raise up or let us nuke each other.
Jan 30, 2013 12:38pm
What tragedy? The total number of people killed in last 5 years in Kashmir is much lesser then the number of people killed in pakistan in January alone of 2013, go figure where does the human tragedy occurs
Jan 29, 2013 08:29pm
traders need to purchase insurance against trade disruptions.
Jan 30, 2013 05:30pm
Mutual trade builds economic equity. Once this equity is large enough to affect a sizable population in case of hostilities, the leaders on both sides will think twice before letting any adverse situation get out of hand. So, yes, bilateral trade and cultural exchanges will indeed reduce suspicions and provide incentive for speedy resolution of issues.
Avishek Roy
Jan 30, 2013 07:46pm
Jan 31, 2013 04:03am
So one side claims the other killed its soldier and therefore in protest it will close the border one month from now. How realistic is that?
Jan 31, 2013 04:31am
better to trade with uzbek and turkish beauties..........our people will be happy and stop this violence
Jan 31, 2013 05:38am
I think we should accept LOC as the international border and end the dispute...What do you all say? Isn't it fair and practical?
Abdul Qayoom
Jan 30, 2013 08:05am
Traders at line of control are only source to rebuild trust and can flourish the environment of peace, prosperity and sympathy between two nations so this factor must not be lost at any cost and armies of both countries should not trigger the skirmishes on minor issues this can help in bringing normalcy in ties between two countries.
Jan 30, 2013 01:45am
Insurance companies on both sides of the border make money out of this conflict and loss of life
Jan 30, 2013 01:48am
May be both the countries should commit to at least one month notice before they close the border. This will at least help the traders to rush the material through and save their money.
Jan 29, 2013 10:29pm

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