New bus on Indo-Pak table
Indian and Pakistani officials agreed on Wednesday to set in motion a fresh set of CBMs aimed at furthering the Prime Minister's vision of making borders between the two countries ?irrelevant?.india Updated: May 04, 2006 02:29 IST
Indian and Pakistani officials agreed on Wednesday to set in motion a fresh set of CBMs aimed at furthering the Prime Minister's vision of making borders between the two countries “irrelevant”.
A bus service to further people-to-people contact, a truck service to promote trade between J&K and POK (and create “vested interests” in maintaining peace) and making ‘meeting points’ along the LoC operational were finalised at the two-day “technical” talks. A new bus service, between Poonch and Rawalakot, will be launched from June 19, 2006. Initially, operating once a fortnight, procedures to board the bus will be the same as those for the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus.
According to a joint statement, the ‘technical’ discussions were aimed at “enhancing interaction and cooperation across the LoC”, and will go further to “bring sundered families together”, sources said. The Indian delegation was headed by Dilip Sinha, joint secretary in the MEA, while the Pakistani team was led by Syed Ibne Abbas, DG, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Ways to expedite clearances for people to travel on these routes was also discussed, but neither country is likely to reduce the scrutiny of passengers wishing to travel, given the overall security concerns.
A truck service to facilitate trade on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad route is set to begin in the first half of July. Officials “exchanged indicative lists of goods” that would be traded. Talks were also held on procedures to operationalise five meeting points along the LoC.