An initiative to encourage greater interaction and confidence across the Line of Control in Kashmir has been recognised with an industry award. This 3-min film captures Conciliation Resources’ ‘Trading for peace’ innovation and is winner of Bond’s International Development ‘Positive Collaboration’ award.
The unique initiative has involved working for the past six years, against a backdrop of violent conflict, with local networks of businesspersons, journalists, labourers, academics and civil society on both sides of the Line of Control in Kashmir.
The Governments of India and Pakistan first introduced the idea of trade between the two sides of Kashmir in 2008. Conciliation Resources and partners then began working together to set up the practical infrastructure for this trade, providing impetus to the process and expanding its reach to and ownership by a wider population in Kashmir.
About this initiative
The collaboration has involved all parties working together to facilitate communication across the divide, provide technical expertise to local trade associations and inform governments about the needs on the ground.
It has also included taking the beginnings of a Jammu and Kashmir Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry, conceived of by business leaders from both sides, and developing this into the first ever solid cross Line of Control institution – which is now going from strength to strength.
"This award provides recognition for the hard-work, commitment, courage and creativity shown by our partners in Kashmir. It also demonstrates the value of sustained efforts to build confidence through practical collaboration thereby contributing to long-term peace."
Jonathan Cohen, Conciliation Resources' Acting Executive Director
Impact at local and political levels
This trade is providing tangible economic benefits to both those involved and wider communities along the Line of Control. More importantly though, it is connecting people and building relationships across cultural and physical divides; providing greater security for people living near the Line of Control; and bringing people who are usually excluded, into the broader peace process.
It is also having an impact at a political level, as Conciliation Resources’ South Asia Programme Director, Tahir Aziz, says:
"In this highly volatile and inflammatory political context, this trade initiative is evidence of something that is working that both governments can get behind. It is the only positive initiative that has sustained through very strained India-Pakistan relations."
Tahir Aziz, South Conciliation Resources' Asia Programme Director
The Bond International Development Awards were established to ‘celebrate inspiring development’. Bond’s CEO, Ben Jackson states,
"Working in a hugely risky environment, Conciliation Resources has created lasting partnerships from the ground up. This inspiring project has given local people a stake in peace and enabled them to build their own futures through trade and collaboration."
Ben Jackson, Bond's CEO
This initiative was supported by the European Union, Ploughshares Fund and the UK's Department for International Development.
A longer film explaining more about this trade initiative, produced by two filmmakers across the Line of Control will be released in the coming weeks. This film forms the final part of a trilogy of films.