India suspends trade across LoC

Indo – Pak relations started tense since Pulwama terror strike, led to worsening further after India suspended trade across the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir, this evening,  over concern that the route was being misused by Pakistan-based elements to smuggle weapons, narcotics and fake currency.

The Ministry of Home Affairs said the Centre will revisit the decision to suspend LoC trade at Jammu and Kashmir’s Salamabad and Chakkan-da-Bagh after putting in place a stricter regulatory and enforcement mechanism.

Cross-LoC trade is meant to facilitate exchange of goods of common use between local populations across the LoC in Jammu & Kashmir. The trade is allowed through two Trade Facilitation Centres located at Salamabad, Uri, District Baramulla and Chakkan-da-Bagh, District Poonch.

The trade takes place four days a week. The Trade is based on Barter system and zero duty basis. The home ministry decision comes after the federal anti-terror probe agency National Investigation Agency told the government that a “significant number of trading concerns engaged in LoC trade” were linked with banned terror organisations involved in fueling terrorism”.

“Investigations have further revealed that some individuals, who have crossed over to Pakistan, and joined militant organizations have opened trading firms in Pakistan. These trading firms are under the control of militant organizations and are engaged in LoC trade,” a home ministry statement said.

The home ministry said there were also inputs to indicate the LoC route is likely to be misused to a “much larger extent” to evade higher duties after India withdrew the most favoured nation to Pakistan.

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