Shock reigned across South Asia today as it was revealed that the region's two biggest rivals had solved a decades long territorial dispute overnight. Pakistani and Indian officials announced this morning that following months of secret talks Pakistan has agreed to trade the parts of Kashmir under its control for the Indian coastal enclave of Goa, a former Portuguese colony known mostly for the quality of its beaches.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari held a joint news conference in New Delhi where Singh extolled the virtues of the deal which finally unites the province of Kashmir for the first time since the partition of British India in 1947, while also allowing Pakistanis access to decent beaches for the first time in their history. "Kashmir and Goa are both very important parts of our national identity," Singh exclaimed "But when the opportunity presented itself to finally achieve victory in Kashmir, it was a chance too good to pass up."
Zardari for his part listed the benefits of the deal to Pakistan "The Islamic Republic of Pakistan will lose 6.5 million mostly poor uneducated residents, and gain 1.5 million new citizens in one of the richest and most educated regions of all of South Asia. "
The signing ceremony is expected to take place on Wednesday April 11th in Kargil near the line of control in Kashmir. The handover is set to take place within six months. All citizens in both transferred areas will be allowed to chose citizenship in either country.
The United States and Europe are believed to welcome the move as resolving the dispute is expected to considerably ease tensions between the two nuclear armed nations. However Indian holidaymakers may be less pleased. Reports from Islamabad indicate that the new Pakistani government intends to reserve the best hotels for Pakistani nationals and tourists from East Asia.
The Daily Currant contacted Pakistan's long suffering tourism minster on advice for Indians seeking tourist visas to Goa after the handover. The giddy man smiled and then simply replied:
"Learn to ski".