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Poonch-Rawalakot bus service to start from June 19

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, May 03 : India and Pakistan have agreed to start the bus service between Poonch in Jammu region and Rawalakot in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (POK) from June 19 and a truck service for trade on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad route from the first half of July.

The decisions were taken at the two-day talks between the two sides on Confidence-Building Measures (CBMs), which concluded here today.

The technical level talks on enhancing interaction and cooperation across the LOC were held in pursuance of the Joint Statement of April 18, 2005, and as mandated by the Foreign Secretaries on January 18, 2006.

The two sides also exchanged indicative lists of goods to be traded and agreed that the delegations of Chambers of Commerce from either side of the Line of Control (LOC) will undertake visits to discuss trade.

''Both sides agreed to start the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad truck service to facilitate cross-LOC trade in the first half of July 2006. The two sides exchanged indicative lists of goods for trade. It was agreed that the delegations from Chambers of Commerce from either side of the LOC will undertake visits at the earliest to discuss various aspects of the trade,'' a Joint Statement issued after the talks said.

The procedures, documentation and modalities for the Poonch-Rawalakot bus service would be the same as for the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service.

Initially, the bus service will operate on a fortnightly basis.

The two sides also discussed modalities for operationalising the meeting points along the LOC as agreed upon earlier. They reviewed the operation of the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service and of the five crossing points and agreed to expedite clearances of applications.

The Indian delegation was headed by Mr Dilip Sinha, Joint Secretary (PAI), Ministry of External Affairs, while the Pakistan side was led by Syed Ibne Abbas, Director General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

''The talks were held in a cordial atmosphere. Both sides reviewed the operation of the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service and of the five crossing points. Both sides agreed to expedite clearances of applications,'' the Joint Statement said.

UNI

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