Rare Phone Call That Led To India-Pak Deal To Stop Cross-Border Firing
There has been a steady increase in ceasefire violations along the Line of Control.
A rare phone call between the Directors General of Military Operations of India and Pakistan on Monday spawned the latest ceasefire between the two countries in Jammu and Kashmir, sources have told, raising hopes among border residents after a steady increase in firing in recent years.
The India-Pakistan ceasefire was proposed and accepted by India in 2003 and broadly held till 2016 when the Uri terror attack took place. Between 2016 and 2018, there was a large escalation of ceasefire violations.
In 2018, a ceasefire proposed by Pakistan failed. Since then, there has been a huge stepping up of cross-border incidents with the two countries regularly exchanging artillery and machine-gun fire along the ceasefire line known as the Line of Control (LoC) that has separated the countries for decades.
According to sources, the hotline remains active between the militaries of both sides. A Major-ranked officer regularly speaks to the other side for routine matters. A Brigadier talks once a week. The Directors General of Military Operations speak rarely.
On this occasion, they spoke on Monday, ushering the ceasefire that came into effect at midnight Wednesday, sources said. The ceasefire was announced in a joint statement on Thursday.
"In the interest of achieving mutually beneficial and sustainable peace along the borders, the two DGsMO agreed to address each other's core issues and concerns which have propensity to disturb peace and lead to violence," the statement said.
"Both sides agreed for strict observance of all agreements, understandings and cease firing along the Line of Control and all other sectors with effect from midnight of February 24/25," it added.
More than 140 people, including civilians and security forces, have died in the last three years in nearly 11,000 separate ceasefire violations along India's border with Pakistan, according to government data.
Speaking in parliament this month, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that Pakistan resorted to 5,133 incidents of ceasefire violations last year in which 46 security force personnel were killed. The defence minister said there had been 299 incidents of ceasefire violations till January 28 this year.