India and Paksitan agree to start trade across LoC

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New Delhi, Sep 22: In a major step towards improving relations, India and Pakistan on Monday, Sep 22 finalised the modalities of Cross LoC trade at a meeting of the Joint Working Group on Cross LoC Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) in the Capital.

Talking to reporters after the meeting, Pakistan's Additional Secretary in Foreign Ministry Aijaz Ahmed Chowdhury said the agreement was for starting commerce on Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawalkot routes. Asked when the trade will begin, Mr Chowdhury said, ''Political masters will decide on that.'' ''We have finalised the modalities and hopefully things will work out. We will submit it to the bosses and they will take the final decision,'' he said.

The Indian delgation was led by T C A Raghavan, Joint Secretary (PAI) Ministry of External Affairs, the Pakistan delegation by Mr Aizaz Ahmed Choudhary, Additional Secretary (South Asia), Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In July, Foreign Secretaries of the two countries had exchanged lists of commodities with zero tariff regime. Each side had agreed to indicate the items they were willing to receive.

A formal announcement is likely to be made after Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari will meet Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh this week on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session. The two countries have already opened a bus service between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad in April 2005.


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