Kashmir-related CBMs Included In Feb 25 Talks Agenda: India20 February 2010
New Delhi: Besides terrorism, India says strengthening of Kashmir-related confidence-building measures, including trade across the Line of Control, will also be discussed with Pakistan during the upcoming foreign secretary-level talks. In a meeting with People’s Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday, Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram said bottlenecks in the smooth conduct of trade on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawalakot routes would also be addressed. He said his government was keen to resolve the traders’ problems, who are complaining of lack of facilities and a faulty system. He told Mufti that the government was considering adequate banking facilities, including allowing the Jammu and Kashmir Bank to open up its branches in Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Meanwhile, a report from Srinagar said the cross-LoC travel, which started in 2005, had lost its glory due to severe security checks and cumbersome procedures. Mufti told Chidambaram that his decision to allow Kashmiri youth to return to their homes would gain credibility only if he liberalises existing travel facilities for citizens. “Denial of passports was the reason for creating a sense of siege among the young generation,” she told the home minister.