Boosting LoC trade

More than three years have passed by when Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh initiated cross border trade and travel in Jammu and Kashmir. Among various confidence building measures, travel across the LoC at two points, one along Uri-Muzaffarabad and the other along Poonch-Rawlakot road, were agreed upon by the two sides. The beginning had to be modest given the six decade long stalemate and lingering misunderstanding and trust deficit on either side. The entire CBM met with hiccups intermittently, and that was not altogether unexpected. But three cheers to the quality of perseverance and sincerity of intention on the part of leadership on both sides that the hard-built process was not allowed getting derailed. Although the beginning of trade relations between a small number of traders on two sides was rather along outdated lines like barter system and no regular connectivity etc. yet the traders persevered in the hope that things would improve gradually and both sides would realize in good time the usefulness of trade relations for normalizing mutual relations. Today, three and a half years later, something has come into being in this context that certainly vindicates the vision of the leadership on either side of the dividing line.
The Home Secretaries of India and Pakistan will be meeting on 24-25 May, a part of on-going bilateral talks. Certainly they will discuss the question of upgrading, streamlining and expanding trade and interaction of larger number of people and other related matters in a constructive manner.  In order to go to the scheduled meeting with good knowledge of the ground situation, the Indian Home Secretary will be visiting Chakan-da-Bagh transit point along Poonch-Rawlakot route and Uri along Uri-Muzaffarabad route before he joins the scheduled meeting with his Pakistani counter-part. There are several issues that will need to be taken up with the other side. These relate to streamlining the process of trade, increasing the volume, shifting to currency transaction instead of barter system, increasing the items that would be traded, establishment of telephonic connectivity and easing of visa regime and other formalities. There are other matters that need to be paid attention and overall smooth trading should be the purpose of both sides.
In a recent development happening two days ago, a Joint LoC Trade Federation was formed in a meeting of the traders from both parts of divided State held at Chakan-Da-Bagh, the line dividing Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK). 22 members from each side making in all 44 member strong body was announced after nearly 120 traders from both sides met to deliberate on the subject at Chakan-da-Bagh. The 22 member team of our side comprised 11 from Poonch and 11 from Uri crossing point. This is a very healthy development because deliberations of the Joint LoC Traders Federation will substantially help the two Home Secretaries to consider the demands of the traders on either side and find ways and means of meeting these in a constructive manner. In other words, the meeting at higher levels should be meaningful and result oriented. Since winds of change have blown in bilateral trade and other relations between the two countries and engagement is of crucial importune if it is intended to bring about thaw in frozen relations, much importance is attached to the impending meeting of the two Home Secretaries. At present only 21 items are allowed to be traded and this enormous restrictions existing today need to be reversed. How can trade grow to the quantum we expect it to grow unless the list of items allowed for trading is generously enlarged? Two other requirements of highest priority in streamlining the process are simplifying the visa regime and establishing electronic communication facility system. Then there is the need of currency trade instead of sticking to the old and obsolete barter system. Induction of currency system would also mean extending banking facilities as is being done in the field of international trade. These measures will come one by one and in due course of time if there is a strong will of improving relations between the two peoples. There are many other areas in which mutual collaboration could yield encouraging results like tourism, sports, winter sports, cultural meets, book fairs, joint seminars on issues like water resources, controlling clandestine import-export of banned commodities like narcotics and fake currency notes etc.  Formation of LoC Traders Federation is a healthy and timely step and the two governments should consider their suggestions and resolutions with seriousness. Peaceful coexistence is the only right philosophy of bringing normalcy and peace to the region. Success of cross border trade enterprise is likely to impact other bilateral issues and improve the prospect of finding their resolution as well. For example the issue of demilitarizing of Siachin glacier by both sides has been making rounds in political circles. Deliberations on this question could be facilitated by the results of new approach to the question of trans-LoC trade. Opportunity should not beB

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End violence against women
Sir,
Violence against women is partly a result of gender relations that assumes men to be superior to women. Given the subordinate status of women, much of gender violence is considered normal and enjoys social sanction. Manifestations of violence includes physical aggression, such as blows of varying intensity, burn, attempted hanging, sexual abuse and rape, psychological violence through insults humiliation, blackmail, coercion, economic or emotional threats and control over speech and actions. In extreme but not unknown cases, death is the result (baby girl Afreen is recent example) .These expression of violence take place in man-women relationship within family, society and state, usually domestic aggression towards women and girls.
According to UN report there are  only 125 countries having specific law that penalize domestic violence and, equality between women and men is guaranteed in 139 countries. But women continue to be subjected to violence, with estimates indicating that up to six in 10 women have suffered physical or sexual violence in their life time, and a majority from their husband or partners.
Safe home is evidence of progress, and to ensure that the message of zero tolerance is heard far and wide. For this we have to engage all the society and especially the younger people, so that they become advocates for change and to help to end this pandemic, only then we are going to have peaceful and equitable world, where women live life without violence
Yours etc…
Shashi Kotwal
Shaja (DODA)

Launching Agni V

Sir,
Launching of Agni V missile by DRDO is very gratifying, a matter of great pride for all of us. This besides boosting the confidence in Indian defence structure will go a long way in requiring much desired  dignified position in the world community. This will also determine to a great extent India’s role to influence the decisions in combating numerous problems confronting the world today.
Missile proliferation, though does not auger well for a better future for the mankind but what to do when on the one hand your security and integrity is being challenged from the immediate neighbourhood and on the other hand  the over all scenario is of subjugation and coercing by the mighty ones. The second threat is more worrying because all this is being done to create a single world order (Hidden agenda behind efforts to counter terror threats). Where is the guarantee that such a single world order will not lead to absolutism and ultimately neo-colonialism. War for the sake of peace has been the dictum of those who are most powerful as on date.
What I intend to convey is that while progressing militarily and gaining confidence,  we should always strive for an independent policy as was envisaged by the founding fathers of independent India. Though non-alignment movement does not exist any more yet there is dire need to steer clear of groupism and factionalism. The aligning with the  forces in the name of fighting terrorism will not only polarize  us but also distract us from an independent foreign policy. Our progress may not  be at the desired pace but it should  never be  at the cost of our integrity and taking bold independent decision at international level.
We are indebted to the sagacity of the founding fathers that made us one among the top five nations of the world. Credit goes to the farsightedness of Pt. Nehru and dedication of Dr Homi J Baba and other scientist for taking us to the great heights  in the space.
Yours etc…
Harjinder Singh
(Retd DFO)
55/7/2 Nanak Nagar

End violence against women
Sir,
Violence against women is partly a result of gender relations that assumes men to be superior to women. Given the subordinate status of women, much of gender violence is considered normal and enjoys social sanction. Manifestations of violence includes physical aggression, such as blows of varying intensity, burn, attempted hanging, sexual abuse and rape, psychological violence through insults humiliation, blackmail, coercion, economic or emotional threats and control over speech and actions. In extreme but not unknown cases, death is the result (baby girl Afreen is recent example) .These expression of violence take place in man-women relationship within family, society and state, usually domestic aggression towards women and girls.
According to UN report there are  only 125 countries having specific law that penalize domestic violence and, equality between women and men is guaranteed in 139 countries. But women continue to be subjected to violence, with estimates indicating that up to six in 10 women have suffered physical or sexual violence in their life time, and a majority from their husband or partners.
Safe home is evidence of progress, and to ensure that the message of zero tolerance is heard far and wide. For this we have to engage all the society and especially the younger people, so that they become advocates for change and to help to end this pandemic, only then we are going to have peaceful and equitable world, where women live life without violence
Yours etc…
Shashi Kotwal
Shaja (DODA)

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