India and Pakistan on Monday reviewed the existing cross-LoC travel and trade arrangements to ensure their effective implementation and explored the possibilities of additional steps to enhance the CBMs, ahead of a meeting between their Foreign Ministers’ this month-end.
The Joint Working Group on cross LoC CBMs met here on Monday and the discussions were held in a “cordial atmosphere”, an official spokesperson in the Ministry of External Affairs said here.
While the Indian side was led by Y.K. Sinha, Joint Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, the Pakistani delegation was led by Zehra H Akbari, Director General (South Asia), Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“During the meeting, both sides reviewed the existing cross LoC travel and trade arrangements to ensure their effective implementation and exchanged views on additional measures to facilitate cross LoC travel and trade,” the spokesperson said.
The meeting was the first engagement between the two countries after the Mumbai triple blasts on July 13.
The Indian Government has already cleared the proposal for increasing the number of trading days from existing two a week to four for cross-LoC trade besides multiple entry permits valid for six months in Jammu and Kashmir.
Today’s talks came ahead of the Indo-Pak Foreign Ministers’ meeting here slated for July 26-27.
While External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna will lead the Indian delegation, Islamabad has announced that Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar will lead the Pakistani delegation.
Khar may be promoted to cabinet rank in the run up to the talks. Pakistani Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir would also travel to New Delhi prior to the Minister’s visit.