Workshop on Cross LoC Trade CBMs in Kargil
Sep 27, 2016

As part of a joint research project to explore the possibilities of economic development and technical feasibilities in Ladakh region, the Department of National Security Studies at the Central University of Jammu jointly organised two day workshop on “Cross LoC Trade CBMs in the Ladakh Region” in collaboration with the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC), in Kargil on 25-26 September at the Conference Hall, Officers’Club, Baroo.
A high level delegation of academician and experts led by Prof. Amitabh Mattoo, the Hon. Advisor to Chief Minister J&K and Prof. Ashok Aima, Vice Chancellor of the Central University of Jammu visited “Hunderman Brok”, a village adjacent to the LoC along Suru river and interacted with the divided families.

Appreciating the effort by the Central University of Jammu for organising the workshop, Prof. Amitabh Mattoo said, “it is appropriate to engage in such activities at a time when tensions prevail along LoC at the Western Sector after the recent Uri attack”. He urged the academicians to learn how the imperial civil servants worked and served in remote regions and developed expertise. That is the role of academic institutions to think strategically for the long-term benefits rather than get into short-term but tactical discourses. The diversity of the region should be recognised before any policy formulation.

Kacho Ahmad Ali Khan, Chief Executive Councillor (CEC) of the LAHDC appreciated the initiative to look through KArgil from the prism of trade and connectivity and cultural linkages. Peace prevailed since 2003 along this border yet there is no substantial developments in terms of opening of Kargil-Skardu road which would not only facilitate trade and revive old ‘silk route’ but also strengthened people to people contact as there are 18000 families were divided across the LoC. He argued “when New Delhi could facilitate trade in Jammu and Kashmir sector of LoC, which also been facing cross-border terrorism, why not to open Kargil-Skardu route?”

Delivering the presidential address, Prof. Ashok Aima said, “Universities should engage with communities and must attempt to bring together various stakeholders of peace in one platform to generate a collective wisdom that would eventually help to formulate a collective actions”. The Central University of Jammu has been working on to enhance its regional outreach by establishing institutional contacts across the country in general and J&K state in particular. He hoped that this workshop would generate constructive discussions on Cross LoC CBMs. Connectivity in terms of both physical and mental is a major issue in Ladkah region.

Jenab. Haji Asgar Ali Karbalai, the MLA of Kargil, said that “the New Delhi is indifferent to our long-term demands of this opening of Skardu-Kargil route”. There is a sense of resentment among the youths of Kargil now that it has been discriminated over Leh, Kashmir and Leh, which has been developing in fast pace.
The workshop also deliberated on the impact of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) on Kargil. The moot question is whether CPEC poses an opportunity or challenges for India? It is also touched upon the opening of alternate route to Amarnath Yatra from Baltal.

Prof. Dipankar Sengputa, Professor of Economics from Jammu University argued that CPEC offers great opportunity for India if it really wants to get an easy access to Central Asia for energy and trade.
Prof. Mallika Joseph emphasised the need for an out-of-box thinking to build trust within the region through innovative methods. She assured that the department of National Security Studies continues to engage with the civil society for lasting peace and stability.

Mr. Ghulam Hassan Khan, DC, Kargil, Mr. Gulzar Munshi, Curator Kargil, Mr.Tsering Angdus, Councillor of LAHDC, Mr. Puchok Tashi, Councillor LAHDC from Zanaskar, Mr. Mohammad Sadiq Hardassi, Balti Writer, Dr. Jabin T. Jacob, ICS New Delhi, Dr. Chhering Tandup, Mr. Ranjan Sharma and Mr. Anayat Ali Shotopa were present.
Dr. J. Jeganaathan, Assistant Professor from Central University of Jammu briefed the participants about the workshop and presented the findings of Leh workshop. He thanked LAHDC for helping in organising the workshop especially, Mr. Sajjad Hussain.