Barter system in cross-LoC Kashmir trade to go

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Jammu, April 27 (IANS) The Jammu and Kashmir government on Wednesday said it would soon do away with the barter system in the cross-border business with Pakistan and the trade would be conducted through proper transactions after an approval from the Reserve Bank of India.

Education Minister Naeem Akhtar said this in a media briefing after a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.

The cross-border trade with Pakistan-administered Kashmir was allowed in October 2008 as a major confidence building measure between the parts of the state divided between India and Pakistan. But the trade has so far been done through barter system with exchange of goods and no money transaction.

This, according to traders, has led to a very low turnover of exchange of goods worth Rs.3,700 in the last nearly eight years.

The trade is conducted through the Line of Control — the de facto boundary in Kashmir between India and Pakistan — from border points in Chakan-da-bagh-Rawalakote route in Jammu and Salamabad-Chokoti in Kashmir.

Akhtar said the government also planned to build infrastructure at the Suchetgarh border crossing with Pakistan in Jammu for developing the place on the pattern of the Wagah border in Punjab.

“Suchetgarh would finally become the trade and travel window between the two countries facilitating the people living on the two sides of the international border.”

He said the state government welcomed talks between India and Pakistan foreign secretaries that is going to have an impact on the peace process in the state.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has shown statesmanship by resumption of the dialogue process at the foreign secretaries level after the Pathankot attack.”

He said while the attack on the Indian Air Force base in Pathankot, blamed on militants who crossed over from the border with Pakistan, cannot be overlooked but the two countries needed to work jointly “to prevent such a happening” in future.

–IANS

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