Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Military Space News .

Subscribe free to our newsletters via your

India, Pakistan resume Kashmir trade after 60-year freeze

Kashmiris watch as Indian trucks loaded with food items cross into the border town of Chakothi in Pakistani-administered Kashmir on October 21, 2008. India and Pakistan began trading between their respective parts of Kashmir for the first time in six decades, raising hopes of a drop in tension in the disputed Himalayan region. Pakistani Kashmir's Prime Minister Atiqur Rehman said he also hoped the event will "help make headway towards resolving the Kashmir issue." Photo courtesy AFP.
by Staff Writers
Kaman Post, Indian Kashmir (AFP) Oct 21, 2008
India and Pakistan began trading between their respective parts of Kashmir for the first time in six decades Tuesday, raising hopes of a drop in tension in the disputed Himalayan region.

A convoy of 13 trucks carrying mostly apples set off on the historic trip to Pakistani Kashmir from the Indian zone of the divided state with 14 trucks packed with Pakistani fruit, onions and spices making the journey in the opposite direction.

"It is a historic day which will surely help the economy of both parts of Kashmir," said Indian Kashmir's Governor N.N. Vohra as he flagged off the convoy from Salamabad, 12 kilometres (seven miles) from the Line of Control.

"I hope it will herald peace in the region," he said of what officials on both sides are aiming to turn into a twice-weekly trading event.

Speaking on the other side of the heavily militarised border, Pakistani Kashmir's Prime Minister Atiqur Rehman said he hoped the event would "help make headway towards resolving the Kashmir issue".

School children and people on the Pakistan side raised banners bearing the slogans "Kashmir will become Pakistan," and "Long Live Kashmir freedom movement".

Kashmir was split into two zones in the bloody aftermath of independence of the subcontinent from Britain 60 years ago. Both India and Pakistan claim the region in full.

The largely symbolic crossing shortly after midday was the first time vehicles were allowed to cross Aman Setu or Peace Bridge on the Line of Control since India and Pakistan fought a war over the region in 1947.

"Vehicles from both the sides have crossed over making history," senior Indian industries official Pawan Kotwal said at Kaman Post, just near the Peace Bridge, as reporters from both sides waved at each other.

A Muslim insurgency broke out in Indian Kashmir in 1989 although militant violence has fallen sharply since the nuclear-armed states began a peace process in 2004 aimed at settling all issues including the future of Kashmir.

But in the past few months, the Kashmir valley has witnessed the biggest pro-independence demonstrations since the revolt in 1989, triggering a violent crackdown by Indian security forces.

Security was tight for the trade opening with even the fruit subject to security checks.

"The items were scanned in x-ray machines," police officer Faisal Qayoom said.

The opening of the trade route has been a key demand of Kashmiri separatists.

In recent months they led weeks of protests sparked by a decision provide land in the Indian-controlled part of the region to a Hindu pilgrim trust.

Although the Indian government backed down, Hindu hardliners staged a punishing blockade of the only road linking the Kashmir valley with the rest of India.

Developments that calm tensions will be good news for Indian authorities, who announced at the weekend they would press ahead with polls in Indian Kashmir later this year despite the recent upheavals.

Kashmiri truckers from both sides said they were delighted about the resumption of trade.

"I'm very happy to be part of this historic moment," said Ghulam Hassan Baba, a driver from Srinagar.

"Never in my dreams I had imagined that one day I would drive my truck and go to the other side," said Mazhar Hussain, the driver of the first Pakistani truck said before crossing the de facto border.

Hussain, whose lorry carried a huge Pakistani flag, wept on arriving in Indian Kashmir.

"This is the day I have lived for," he said, as tears rolled down his cheeks after people embraced him and posed for photographs with him.

There was also huge excitement among the people who had lined up to welcome the truckers.

Separatists, however, say India still needs to acknowledge Kashmir is disputed, and be prepared to address the issue of the future of the region.

Email This Article
Comment On This Article

Share This Article With Planet Earth DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook

Related Links
News From Across The Stans

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Attacks kill three Westerners, five Afghan children
Kabul (AFP) Oct 21, 2008
A British aid worker, two German soldiers and five Afghan children were killed in Afghanistan Monday in a day of bloodshed that highlights worsening security seven years after the ouster of the Taliban.

  • A Revolution In Russian Military Affairs Part One
  • Russia could pull fleet out of Sevastopol: Ivanov
  • Russian Military Machine Running On Fumes Part Two
  • Swords and Shields: Russia's Med menace

  • Nuclear incident would make 9/11 'insignificant': nuke commission
  • Australia says timing right for new nuclear talks
  • Russia sees clear path for Iran reactor launch: report
  • Russia, India lay groundwork for nuclear pact

  • Army And LM Support Second Successful International PAC-3 Missile Test
  • NKorea prepares mass missile launches: reports
  • Russia denies missile sales to Iran
  • US advises North Korea against test-firing missiles

  • Russia sees no point to more US missile talks: report
  • Russia expects access to US defence shield in Czech Republic: reports
  • BMD Watch: Russia extends ABMs to Belarus
  • Swords and Shields: Russia shields Syria

  • Energy Department has high school contest
  • Researchers Scientists Perform High Altitude Experiments
  • Airbus expecting 'large' China order by early 2009: CEO
  • Airbus globalises production with China plant

  • Successful Live-Fire Testing Of Shadow TUAS
  • DCNS Achieves Automatic UAV Landing On Frigate
  • AAI Receives Contract For Additional Shadow TUAS
  • US drones fly after missile strike in Pakistan: residents

  • 'Dramatic' consequences without US-Iraq troop accord: Gates
  • US insists draft Iraq security pact is 'good text'
  • US insists Iraq pact guarantees sovereignty
  • US 'not at stage' of considering alternative to Iraq security pact

  • Raytheon Receives Contract For Production Of Towed Decoys
  • Raytheon Air-to-Air Missile Enters Weapons System User Program
  • Smart Bombs Score Another Hit In Extended Range Tests
  • Boeing Awarded Contract To Continue Testing ATL

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2007 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement