India Awaiting Pakistan Response On Trans-LoC Trade: Jairam Ramesh
26 August 2007
Srinagar: The Union Minister of State for Commerce, Jairam Ramesh, on Sunday hoped that the trade across the Line of Control would start soon as the list of items had been exchanged between India and Pakistan. He, however, said that New Delhi was waiting for response from Islamabad in this direction. Mr. Ramesh, who concluded his three-day visit to Kashmir and Ladakh on Sunday, told The Hindu that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was keen to clinch this issue in 2007. 'Much headway' 'Our Foreign Secretary has taken up the issue with Pakistan government afresh after the lists of proposed items were exchanged and we are waiting for their response now,' he said. But he admitted that there was much headway in the process as the talks held last month were seen as a major breakthrough. He said this issue had much to do with the other confidence building measures related to the Line of Control. List of items The items proposed by India for trade include carpets, rugs, wall hangings, papier mache, Kashmiri woollen products, furniture, Kashmiri fruits, spices, flowers, Kashmiri saffron and Kashmiri Wazwan. From the Pakistani side, the list includes spices, apples, walnut, rice, precious stones, gabbas, furniture, marble, onion, garlic, and medicinal herbs. The Minister visited LoC in Hundarman area in Kargil on Sunday. 'I felt that people in Kargil want trade across the LoC but first want the bus service between Kargil and Skardu.' He said: 'The LoC trade will be the biggest CBM to strengthen the process of peace and reconciliation between the two countries.' Mr. Ramesh reviewed the progress on various initiatives he piloted since his first visit in May. Making the private as well as the government sector part and parcel of the business in the State, the Minister has roped in Coffee Day, the big chain of coffee houses to open at least six coffee shops in Srinagar in the next six months.