Omar pushes for more routes to Pakistan

Last Updated: Thu, Nov 08, 2012 21:15 hrs

Jammu: Favouring more Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) with Pakistan, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Thursday said many more of these measures could be focused on his state.

Abdullah said he would recommend to the central government the opening of the Jammu-Sialkot route for travel and trade.

In a meeting with the Federation of Industries, Jammu, the chief minister said the opening of this route for travel and trade would not only enhance people-to-people contact, but give considerable fillip to trade activities too.

Omar Abdullah said: "While issues of opening of other routes and trade points across the Line of Control (LoC) figure in the priority list of this government, we would advocate opening of Jammu-Sialkot travel and trade point on the International Border (IB) as it would prove highly beneficial for the people of the state both for travel and to undertake various economic activities."

This route will pass through Suchetgarh, the last Indian point on the IB, 35 km west of Jammu.

The chief minister said banking facilities for LoC trade and enhancing the list of tradeable items have already been taken up with the union government.

He expressed the hope that the relations between the two neighbours would improve further, and trade and travel activities be enhanced.

The travel routes to connect divided families on either side of LoC in Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan occupied Kashmir started in April 2005, from two points, one each in Jammu region and Kashmir Valley.

This was followed by commencing trade between the two sides in December 2008 through barter system, which is non-tax trade.

Both these measures followed the ceasefire on the Indo-Pakistan border, agreed to by the two neighbours in November 2003.

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