India moots Kargil-Skardu bus as CBM with Pak

NEW DELHI (TIP): India has proposed to Pakistan a bus service between Kargil and Skardu and a “multiple entry booklet” to facilitate movement of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

The two countries have also resumed talks for the purchase of 500 MW of electricity by Pakistan from India. The proposal for launching the bus service was made at a meeting of the India-Pakistan joint working group (JWG) on cross-LoC confidence building measures (CBMs) that met here earlier this week.

The Indian delegation at the meeting was headed by Rudrendra Tandon, Joint Secretary (Pakistan) in the External Affairs Ministry, while the Pakistan side was led by Riffat Masood, Director General (South Asia) in the Foreign Ministry. Briefing reporters here today, MEA spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said New Delhi also mooted introduction of “multiple-entry booklet”.

At present, passengers carry a form which is for single permit. They also discussed the recent unsavoury incident of a Pakistani driver bringing narcotics into India, which led to suspension of cross-LoC trade for some days. They observed there was a clear “failure” in detecting narcotics while the truck was entering India.

It was felt that standard operating procedures for cross-LoC trade needed to be strengthened on both sides. The Pakistani side raised the issue of the driver who is still in the custody of the Indian authorities. New Delhi told Islamabad that the driver would face action under the Indian law.

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