Muzaffarabad, Pakistan: Six Pakistani goods trucks crossed into Indian-administered Kashmir on Tuesday, an official said, ending a 20-day halt in trade sparked by deadly army clashes earlier this month.
The convoy, carrying onions, dates and dried fruits, crossed the Line of Control (LoC) that divides the two parts of the disputed Himalayan territory, shortly before midday (0700 GMT).
Traders on the Pakistani side complained that the closure of the key crossing point had cost them Rs 30 million ($300,000) following the flare-up, which left five soldiers dead.
Brigadier Ismail Khan, the director general of Pakistan-administered Kashmir’s Trade and Travel Authority (TATA), told AFP that six trucks had gone to the Indian side at the Titrinot crossing.
Cross-border trade has been encouraged in recent years as a means to improve relations between the nuclear-armed rivals, who have fought two wars over Kashmir.
Kashan Masood, the head of the traders’ association in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, said the recent disruption had hit business hard.
“We had placed orders for tomatoes and other vegetables from India. They were rotten and we suffered the loss of Rs 30 million,” he said.
“We are always at risk that our business will suffer whenever tension starts on LoC. We are doing this business at our own risk as we don’t have any guarantee from the authorities.”
The clashes, which began on 6 January, prompted fears that tensions between the two countries could escalate, but a ceasefire agreement on 16 January between commanders from both armies has held.
A cross-border bus service also resumed on Monday. The route from Poonch on the Indian side to Rawalakot on the Pakistan side was opened in 2005 to enable members of divided families in the region to meet up.