India, Pakistan Agree To Exercise Restraint, Defuse Tension On LoC

21 September 2015
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
DK Sudan

Jammu: India and Pakistan today agreed to de-escalate tension on the Line of Control as its armies held a Brigade Commander-level flag meeting today at Chakan da Bagh on the LoC in Poonch district. The meeting began around 11.30 am and lasted till 12.15 pm. The last such meeting was held at the same place on January 17, 2014. 'The meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere and issues regarding the ongoing ceasefire violations, targeting of civilians and sniper actions on the Line of Control were addressed. Both the sides have mutually agreed to exercise restraint and take steps to defuse the situation,' said officiating defence spokesperson SN Acharaya. An Intelligence official said the Indian side was headed by the Commander of the 120 Infantry Brigade, also called Bhimber Gali Brigade, Brigadier HS Sareen. The Pakistani delegation was led by Brigadier Usman of the 6 Sector Poonch-Rawalakot Brigade. 'While the Pakistani delegation again attributed the trans-border firing from their side to non-state actors (ultras), the Indian delegation clearly refused to buy their plea and asked them to check such elements as well as infiltration bids from their side,' said a defence source. The Indian Army had taken the initiative for the flag meeting in order to restore normalcy on the LoC and in the larger interest of peace for the border population on both sides, the source added. 'We lodged a strong protest over regular truce violations by Pakistan and targeting of civilians, and produced photographic evidences to prove our claims. They also produced photographs to corroborate their claim. But, importantly, both sides laid emphasis on de-escalating the tension,' said a top Army source. 'However, no new mechanism of communication between the local formation commanders was evolved. Flag meeting will remain the only option to communicate,' he added. Both the countries had mutually brokered a ceasefire agreement in November 2003 in the larger interest of peace on the borders. Since July 15, at least 12 people, including two BSF constables and two officers have been killed and over 40 others injured in rampant ceasefire violations by Pakistan on the LoC and the International Border in the Jammu region.