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Last Updated: Monday, 1 October 2007, 07:40 GMT 08:40 UK
India and Pakistan in trade boost
By Sanjoy Majumder
BBC News, Delhi

Indian and Pakistani soldiers at Wagah
Ties across the border have warmed up
India and Pakistan have boosted trade ties with a truck carrying goods across the border for the first time since partition 60 years ago.

The journey over a 50-km road link is a major step in the peace process between the two countries, which have gone to war three times since independence.

Analysts say trade between the two countries could reach $6bn a year if both sides ease restrictions.

They say this may improve political relations between the two countries.

As senior Indian officials looked on, a truck carrying tomatoes inched its way through the imposing gates of the Wagah border between India and Pakistan, past heavily-armed border guards in full ceremonial dress.

This was once an ancient trade route, dating back 600 years and linked India to Afghanistan and Central Asia.

But all that ended in 1947 after the bloody partition of the sub-continent into India and Pakistan.

Indian exports to Pakistan are valued at about $1bn a year, but are expected to double over the next year because of the new land route, which significantly cuts costs and travel time.

In the past, goods bound for the two countries had to be unloaded at the border and loaded into trucks belonging to the respective countries.

India exports vegetables, livestock and meat to Pakistan and imports fruit.

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