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May 22, 2019 |

Trade and peace

Ministry of Home Affairs on April 18 suspended the cross-Line of Control (LoC) trade in the state, eleven years after its commencement in 2008 as a Confidence Building Measure. Traders claim that the over one month ban has cost them more than Rs 30 crore as the supply of a number of products that used to be sold in the month of Ramadan in the valley has stopped. The central government on the ban has stated that the measure was taken to stop illegal funneling of “weapons and narcotics”. It is perhaps for the first time that the ban so such a long time has been in effect. While the government is within its ambits to improve the trade and prevent it from falling into wrong hands, however, it is the mistrust about the future of the trade that the stakeholders are much worried about. There is a strong feeling shared by many traders and businessmen that unnecessary hurdles are being created to thwart the trade. The governments too have not shared much information about the ban and how long it is going to continue. While the local governments have always taken pride in defusing the tense situation between the two countries India and Pakistan with the newfound economic relation, the central government has been adamant on imposing restrictions in the prevailing security scenario in the state. Already struck by operational problems, the trade seems to have become a political battle now. Eleven years have passed since the cross-LoC trade was started with much fanfare, but unfortunately it has failed to move beyond the symbolism. The trade continues to remain hostage to politics of animosity. The opening of the trade route between the divided parts of Kashmir was coined as one of the biggest Confidence Building Measures between India and Pakistan, but like other CBMs it also failed to meet its objectives, mostly because of the lack of political will on the two sides. If the two countries would have properly nourished this trade, it could have defused the tension on the Line of Control helping in stabilizing the relations between them. The trade creates stakeholders on both sides and allows greater human interaction on the two sides of the divide. These stakeholders always pin their hopes to peace and stability in the region, and therefore indirectly contribute in maintaining calm at least in the restive state. By delinking it from short term political objectives, the trade can help in retaining normalcy in Kashmir. Also by addressing the current pitfalls in the structure of the trade more progress could be made.

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May 22, 2019 |

Trade and peace

              

Ministry of Home Affairs on April 18 suspended the cross-Line of Control (LoC) trade in the state, eleven years after its commencement in 2008 as a Confidence Building Measure. Traders claim that the over one month ban has cost them more than Rs 30 crore as the supply of a number of products that used to be sold in the month of Ramadan in the valley has stopped. The central government on the ban has stated that the measure was taken to stop illegal funneling of “weapons and narcotics”. It is perhaps for the first time that the ban so such a long time has been in effect. While the government is within its ambits to improve the trade and prevent it from falling into wrong hands, however, it is the mistrust about the future of the trade that the stakeholders are much worried about. There is a strong feeling shared by many traders and businessmen that unnecessary hurdles are being created to thwart the trade. The governments too have not shared much information about the ban and how long it is going to continue. While the local governments have always taken pride in defusing the tense situation between the two countries India and Pakistan with the newfound economic relation, the central government has been adamant on imposing restrictions in the prevailing security scenario in the state. Already struck by operational problems, the trade seems to have become a political battle now. Eleven years have passed since the cross-LoC trade was started with much fanfare, but unfortunately it has failed to move beyond the symbolism. The trade continues to remain hostage to politics of animosity. The opening of the trade route between the divided parts of Kashmir was coined as one of the biggest Confidence Building Measures between India and Pakistan, but like other CBMs it also failed to meet its objectives, mostly because of the lack of political will on the two sides. If the two countries would have properly nourished this trade, it could have defused the tension on the Line of Control helping in stabilizing the relations between them. The trade creates stakeholders on both sides and allows greater human interaction on the two sides of the divide. These stakeholders always pin their hopes to peace and stability in the region, and therefore indirectly contribute in maintaining calm at least in the restive state. By delinking it from short term political objectives, the trade can help in retaining normalcy in Kashmir. Also by addressing the current pitfalls in the structure of the trade more progress could be made.

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