May 2018 News

India, Pak Agree To Maintain 2003 Ceasefire On LoC, IB

29 May 2018
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: In what can be called as major truce between India and Pakistan, the Director Generals of Military Operations (DGMOs) of both the countries today agreed to implement 2003 ceasefire agreement on both Line of Control (LoC) and International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir, where ceasefire violations have become a routine during past several months now. In a sudden development, which comes amidst rants of Indo-Pak talks, Pakistan DGMO called up his Indian counterpart Lt Gen Anil Chauhan at 6 pm today on the hotline during which both top military officials of the two hostile neighbours reviewed situation along LoC and IB in Jammu and Kashmir. As Pakistan army and Rangers have suffered heavy losses, both in terms of casualties and infrastructure, in retaliation by the Indian troops and BSF, the Pakistani DGMO mooted the proposal for undertaking sincere measures to improve the existing situation on the borders. 'Indian Army DGMO agreed with the proposal to undertake sincere measures to improve the situation to ensure peace and avoidance of hardships to civilians along the borders,' an official handout issued by the Indian Army after the hotline contact said. It added that both the DGMOs agreed to fully implement the ceasefire understanding of 2003 in letter and spirit forthwith and to ensure that henceforth the ceasefire will not be violated by both sides. 'It was also mutually agreed that in case of any issue, restraint will be exercised and the matter will be resolved through utilization of existing mechanisms of hotline contacts and border flag meetings at local Commanders' level,' the handout said. Pakistan army also issued almost a similar handout at Rawalpindi after the DGMOs' hotline contact. The 2003 ceasefire agreement to which the two DGMOs agreed this evening was announced initially by then Pakistan Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali on November 23, 2003, which was endorsed by then Prime Minister of India, Atal Behari Vajpayee a couple of days later. Peace prevailed along the borders for seven to eight years and people had started cultivating their crops right on the Zero Line. However, the ceasefire violations started from Pakistan seven to eight years after the agreement and have now assumed dangerous proportions with almost regular exchange of mortar shelling and firing on the LoC in twin border districts of Rajouri and Poonch and occasionally in Kupwara, Tanghdar sectors etc. Only few days back, the International Border (IB) in Jammu sector witnessed heavy mortar shelling and firing in which two Border Security Force (BSF) jawans and 10 civilians were killed while Pakistan also suffered heavy casualties and infrastructural damages. 'It was in view of heavy losses sustained by Pakistan army and Rangers in retaliatory firing by the Indian Army and BSF that the hostile neighbour has been forced to call for ceasefire on both LoC and IB,' sources pointed out. Sources expressed confidence that Pakistan would stick to the appeal made today for ceasefire on LoC and IB, leading to return of peace as civilians were the sufferers. However, they said, there will be no let up in surveillance of Army on LoC and BSF on the International Border as Pakistan can't be trusted and could anytime try to send infiltrators from across the border to Jammu and Kashmir for subversive activities. The adherence to 2003 ceasefire agreement by both the DGMOs came close on the heels of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh's statement that India was not averse to talks with Pakistan if it stops sending terrorists to Jammu and Kashmir and implement ceasefire on the borders. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had also asked Pakistan yesterday to shun terrorism if it wants talks with India saying talks can't be held in grip atmosphere on the borders. Rajnath had recently announced ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir during holy month of Ramzan.