New Delhi suggests several initiatives

India has once again called on Pakistan not to hold up the trans-Line of Control (LoC) trade and movement of people for the sake of a truck driver.

India has also suggested several initiatives that could help break the fortnight-long deadlock after a Pakistani truck driver was arrested following the alleged recovery of drugs from his truck. The incident took place on a day the countries were discussing steps towards normalisation of bilateral trade.

India has suggested an immediate meeting of mid-level officials at Kaman Post on the LoC to exchange information about recent narcotic seizures. New Delhi has also sought information about Pakistani investigations to uncover the identity of the persons who had sent the drugs in a consignment of almonds.

At a more senior level, India has proposed a meeting of the official-level Joint Working Group on Trans-LoC CBMs in the second week of February. This would help remove ambiguities in the interpretation of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

“We regret the fact that for the sake of a drug trafficker caught red-handed smuggling narcotics into India, Pakistani authorities refuse to allow the resumption of trans-LoC travel and trade that benefits the people of Jammu & Kashmir,” official sources in the Ministry of External Affairs said.

India is convinced it had the right to arrest a Pakistani national if he has committed a crime. The MEA drew attention to Clause 9 of the SOP for cross-LoC trade dealing with examination of the goods to verify whether they are covered under the permitted list of items and are as per the declaration made by the exporter.

The last line of this Clause says: “Goods like arms, ammunition, fake currency notes should be handed over to J&K Police for necessary action.”

This should be enough for the Pakistanis to give up their insistence on holding trade across the LoC to ransom for the return of the truck driver, government sources said.

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