CROSS-LoC TRAVEL

New Delhi: India has given a number of proposals to Pakistan on increasing cross-LoC Confidence Building Measures including multi-entry visas for people of Jammu and Kashmir but rejected Pakistani demand for release of its driver arrested for alleged smuggling of narcotics in Uri.
Giving details of the India-Pakistan Joint Working Group meeting on cross-LoC trade and travel held earlier this week, the spokesperson in the External Affairs Ministry said India put forward certain proposals including improving of cross-LoC trade and travel connectivity and in this regard the demand for Skardu-Kargil bus service was reiterated.
For facilitating the movement of people of Jammu and Kashmir, it was suggested that a booklet could be issued with multiple-entry visas, he said, noting that at present there was only single-entry visa given to these people.
During the meeting, India also shared its assessment that there was a failure on Pakistan’s part to detect flow of narcotics to Indian side and, therefore, discussions were held on the need to strengthen the Standard Operating Procedures to ensure that nothing which was not specified in the cargo list was sent, he said.
The spokesperson said Pakistan raised the issue of release of its driver but India maintained that he has to face law of the land for the criminal act and demanded that Pakistani side should share information of its probe into the matter including the name of the cosigner.
The driver from Pakistan-administered Kashmir (PaK) was arrested for allegedly smuggling brown sugar worth Rs 100 crore on January 17 in Uri in Kashmir.
The Indian delegation was led by Joint Secretary in External Affairs Ministry R Tandon while the Pakistani side was represented by Director General (South Asia) Riffat Masood.
The two sides also discussed ways and mechanisms for increasing people-to-people contact, enhancing trade volume and improving infrastructure at trading points.—PTI