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SUSPENSION OF LOC TRADE BETWEEN J&K AND POJK

Why in News?

  • India suspended Line of Control (LoC) trade between Jammu & Kashmir and Pakistan- occupied Jammu & Kashmir with effect from 19-04-2019 after receiving reports that the cross-LOC trade routes were being misused by Pakistan-based elements for funnelling illegal weapons, narcotics, fake currency, and so

Background:

  • The LoC trade was meant to facilitate exchange of goods of common use between local populations across the LoC in Jammu &Kashmir
  • The trade is allowed through two Trade Facilitation Centres located at Salamabad, Uri, District Baramulla, and Chakkan-da-Bagh, District Poonch. The trade takes place four days a week. The trade is based on barter system and zero duty basis.
  • But unscrupulous and anti-national elements are using the route as a conduit for Hawala money, drugs and weapons, under the garb of this Trade
  • According to ongoing investigations of certain cases by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), it has been brought out that a significant number of trading concerns engaged in LoC trade are being operated by persons closely associated with banned terrorist organizations involved in fuelling terrorism and
  • Investigations have further revealed that some individuals, who have crossed over to Pakistan and joined militant organizations have opened trading firms in Pakistan. These trading firms are under the control of militant organizations and are engaged in LoC trade.
  • After the Pulwama incident, Government of India has withdrawn the most-favoured nation (MFN) status to Pakistan. Inputs have also been received that in order to evade the consequent higher duty, LoC trade is likely to be misused to a much larger Extent
  • So Government of India decided to suspend the LoC trade at Salamabad and Chakkan-da- Bagh in Jammu and Kashmir with immediate effect.and the issue of reopening of LoC trade will be revisited thereafter

INDIA TO BE TREATED AS NATO ALLY

Why in News?

  • American lawmakers have reintroduced a key legislation in their House of Representatives which seeks to advance the US-India strategic relationship

HR 2123 Bill:

  • It seeks to send a powerful signal that defence sales to India should be prioritized according to US-India Strategic Partnership Forum, which had worked on this important legislation.
  • The proposed legislation follows the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2017 including special language that designated India as a “Major Defence Partner” of the US.
  • Although powerful in its own right, the NDAA FY 2017 has no legal bearing on the State Department’s body of legislation, nor does it compel the State Department to view defence with India more
  • To fulfil the spirit and intent of the NDAA 2017, the US-India Enhanced Cooperation Act would amend the Arms Export Control Act to put India on par with NATO allies and Israel, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia and The two taken together illustrates the major changes that have taken place in the India-US relationship over the past two decades.

Impact of the legislation:

  • If enacted, the legislation would ensure that the US State Department treats India as act

“NATO ally” for the purposes of the Arms Export Control Act.

  • India is the world’s largest democracy, a pillar of stability in the region, and has shown strong commitments to export control policies.
  • This adjustment to US law will further allow the US-India partnership to flourish in line with our security commitment to the Indo-Pacific region

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