India, Pakistan Resume Trade, Bus Services

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By Amrutha Gayathri | January 28, 2013 9:57 PM EST

India and Pakistan have resumed cross-border trade and bus services, which were suspended for more than a fortnight due to the recent flare-up in tensions along the de facto border between the two nations.

Two Indian soldiers and three Pakistani soldiers died this month near the Line of Control (LoC) in the worst bout of violence since both nations declared a ceasefire in November 2003.

More than a 100 people were reportedly stranded on both sides of the de facto border after Islamabad suspended the services between Rawalakot on its side of the LoC and the Poonch sector in India Jan. 11, citing simmering tensions, NDTV reported.

In keeping with tradition, Indian and Pakistani troops exchanged sweets at Chakan-da-Bag along the Line of Control as a goodwill gesture on the eve of India’s 64th Republic Day Saturday.

At Suchetgarh on the international border, about 40 km west of Jammu, the Border Security Force and Pakistan Rangers also exchanged sweets, IANS reported.

On Jan. 21, officials in India-administered region of Kashmir issued an advisory to residents to be prepared for a potential nuclear, biological or chemical war by building bomb-proof basements or bunkers and stocking up of essential supplies for two weeks.

Local officials maintained that the warning was only a part of a routine campaign to educate the public and that the newspaper advisory was “not connected with anything else.”

Meanwhile, talks between the Water Secretaries of India and Pakistan, scheduled to be held in Islamabad during Jan. 28-29, have been put off until a later date.

Reports in sections of the Pakistani media said the cancellation of the talks was linked to the recent tensions. However, reports from New Delhi said the move was linked to the retirement of Water Resources Secretary D.V. Singh, who is set to step down at the end of this month.

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