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FACTBOX-Line of control between India and Pakistan

Oct 20 (Reuters) - India and Pakistan will open a historic trade link across the Line of Control in divided Kashmir for the first time in six decades on Tuesday, a step aimed at reducing tensions between the two nuclear powers. For a preview story please click on [IDn:DEL361504].

Here are some basic facts about the Line of Control: * The Line of Control (LOC) runs 742km (460 miles) dividing Indian- and Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, and acts as part of the de facto border between the two countries. The military frontline, which runs through inhospitable terrain, has separated hundreds of families and even divided villages and mountains.

* The LOC is rooted in the ceasefire lines drawn up after the first India-Pakistan war in 1947-8. It was formally established in 1972, after a third war between India and Pakistan in 1971.

* The LOC has been a flashpoint between the two nuclear-armed countries since its foundation. Their forces have exchanged gunfire across the line for years.

* In 2002, India and Pakistan came close to another war after gunmen attacked the Indian parliament in December 2001. Around 1 million troops were assembled along the LOC at the height of the crisis.

* In 2004, Indian army engineers fenced off most of the LOC in what is seen as an ambitious attempt to curb the influx of Muslim militants.

* A truce in 2003 led to peace talks and improved ties. In 2005, a limited bus service was set up to ferry passengers across the LOC from Srinagar, Indian Kashmir’s summer capital, to Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistani Kashmir.

After a massive earthquake hit Kashmir in 2005, India and Pakistan agreed to open several crossing points on the LOC to swap aid and allow families to meet.

* Many in India favour formalising the current partition, making the LOC the international border, but Pakistan rules this out. (Compiled by Matthias Williams; Editing by Alistair Scrutton and Paul Tait)