In a bid to facilitate trade, the Indian government has cleared a proposal to permit international calls from Jammu and Kashmir to Pakistan after a gap of 20 years, informed sources said on Thursday. This facility will be confined to select trade centres.
The international subscriber dialling (ISD) facility to Pakistan from Jammu and Kashmir was withdrawn in 1990 following the outbreak of separatist violence.
The sources said the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) would install ISD facilities in the offices of the district development commissioner (Poonch), the manager of the district industries centre (Poonch), the custodian of Line of Control (LoC) trade in Salamabad in north Kashmir's Baramulla district and in the office of the chamber of commerce and industry in Srinagar.
Traders in the state had been demanding a phone link between Jammu and Kashmir and Muzaffarabad, capital of the Pakistan-governed Kashmir, since cross-border trade began in 2008.
Presently, no one can make telephone calls from Jammu and Kashmir to Pakistan, which is accused by New Delhi of arming and financing Islamist groups of trying to secede the state from India.