Cross border trade resumes in Kashmir
Cross-border trade in Kashmir resumed on Wednesday as the deadlock between India and Pakistan ended after remaining suspended for a month over the arrest of a Pakistani driver.
Efforts by India and Pakistan to increase trade and ease tension in disputed Kashmir had suffered a blow with police seizing more than 100 kg of heroin concealed in a truck full of nuts coming from the Pakistan side.
Pakistan had halted cross-border trade and bus travel across the region after the seizure, and in January, New Delhi had summoned Pakistan's acting envoy in protest.
The custodian, Chakan Da Bagh, Bashir Ahmed Loan, said that a truck loaded with goods arrived from the other side.
"A vehicle came from Pakistan side when the trade resumed after five weeks but unfortunately their trader and authorised agent was not present," said Ahmed.
The spat, which comes after the two sides agreed to allow round-the-clock movement of trucks and containers through their main border crossing further south in Punjab, underlines the fragility of the peace process.
Both Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif, who took power last year, are keen to rebuild ties and diplomats say closer integration of Pakistan with India's giant economy could lay the ground for improving political relations.
The latest row erupted on January 17 when police impounded a truck coming from Chakoti on the Pakistan side of Kashmir and arrested its driver saying they had found 114 packets of heroin concealed in a cargo of almonds.
Deputy Police Inspector General J.P. Singh had said that the seizure was the largest contraband haul since cross-border trade began across the heavily militarised Line of Control in 2008, and estimated that it could be worth one billion rupees on the international market.
(Posted on 20-02-2014)