Rail links between nuclear rivals India and Pakistan resumed in mid-January after a two-year suspension with the departure of an India-bound train from Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore.
The Samjhota Express left Lahore’s historic railway station on Jan. 15, carrying 65 passengers on 10 coaches to the Indian city of Attari, just over the border, according to the Agence France Presse (AFP).
Revival of the rail links is the latest move between the two countries to ease long-standing tensions after they edged closer to a fourth war in 2002.
“It will provide an economical mode of travel to the people of both countries and boost people-to-people contacts,” Pakistan Railways Chairman Khurshid Khan told AFP.
Transport and ambassadorial links were severed in December 2001 in the wake of an attack on India’s parliament, which New Delhi blamed on Pakistan-based militants.
In addition to resumed rail service, Pakistan announced in January that it had offered to host talks with India in March on starting bus services between their respective zones of Kashmir and the cities of Kokhrapar and Munaoao, in the latest sign of warming ties between the two countries.
India proposed the bus service in October 2003 as part of a peace process. Pakistan was agreeable to the proposal under the condition that the United Nations (U.N.) control the service, that U.N. personnel man checkpoints on the Line of Control dividing Kashmir and that people traveling on the bus carry U.N. documents, said the AFP.