Cross LoC traders meet in Tashkent, seek restoration of intra-Kashmir trade

Various representatives of regional chambers of commerce and industry, associations and federations of cross-LoC traders and some independent entrepreneurs from Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-adminstered Kashmir met for ‘Jammu and Kashmir Cross-Line of Control Business Track II’ in Tashkent, Uzbekistan between June 23-25.

The meeting was facilitated by the Conciliation Resources as part of its support to the Cross-LoC Confidence Building Measures since 2009, according to a statement issued by the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI).

“The participants took a comprehensive view of the cross-LoC Confidence Building Measures initiated by the Governments of India and Pakistan since 2005,” read the statement. “They acknowledged the fact that various CBMs like trade and travel across LoC, in their limited scope, have contributed in building trust and enhancing shared understanding between regions and communities.”

It also said thatparticipants were of the unanimous view that agreement on opening of the Line of Control for travel of divided families and further allowing it for trade was a demonstration of the statesmanship of the leadership of India and Pakistan.

The participants, particularly, the cross-LoC traders, according the statement, said that responding to the CBMs agreed by the Governments of India and Pakistan, they sustained the cross-LoC trade with “emotional investment” despite severe financial risks and procedural and operational difficulties.

“… they (traders) vehemently asserted that businesses can be viewed separately from politics as in the case of India-Pakistan International Trade which has continued uninterruptedly despite many bilateral setbacks,” the statement said.

“The participants called upon the Governments of India and Pakistan to take a comprehensive review of the modalities and technical mechanism to restore operation of Cross-LoC trade as early as possible. The participating Cross-LoC traders and leaders of business chambers from both sides of the divide assured their respective Governments of their full support and assistance in putting the trade on modern and transparent lines to the benefit of economic development and peace in Jammu and Kashmir.”