India, Pakistan trade across divided Kashmir completes one year

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Uri (J-K), Oct 22 (ANI): Traders from India and Pakista administered Kashmir met in Kashmir's Uri town on Wednesday to celebrate one year of trade.

The trade link opened last year for the first time in six decades, a step aimed at reducing tension between the neighbours.

"We have celebrated the anniversary of the cross-LoC trade that started a year back. We have received good results since the trade link across the border from both the countries. We are trying our best to promote the trade and make it more meaningful," said State Minister for Industries and Commerce Surjit Singh Slathia.

The trade link across the frontline in Kashmir, though on a limited scale, symbolises attempts to create "soft borders" allowing the easier movement of goods and people.

Trucks were allowed to cross over just once a week, with a limited list of goods allowed.

The trading began with supply of 21 products including dates, praying mats, spices, dry fruits, oranges and slippers from Muzaffarabad in Pakistan; while vegetables, handicrafts and apples were the items sent from India.

Though the trans-LoC trade has been normal over the past one year, but traders say they face a lot of problems, as the trade is purely on a barter system, where the goods sent from both the sides are not paid in cash, but are exchanged with other items.

"The government of both the countries should provide some facilities to us like bank and telephone lines. Further there should be more exchange of goods to promote this trade," said Sayed Wajid, a trader from Pakistan.

The opening of trade in Kashmir marked the latest in a series of tentative peace moves between India and Pakistan that have done little to resolve their central territorial dispute, which has hobbled regular trade across their international border further south for decades. (ANI)

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