Thaw paves way for LoC ceasefire

DGMOs agree to address each others core issues and concerns which have the propensity to disturb peace


Kamran Yousaf February 25, 2021
Army soldier stands guard at a hilltop post during a trip organised by the army, near the Line of Control (LoC), in Charikot Sector, Azad Kashmir July 22, 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

ISLAMABAD:

In a surprise and icebreaking development, Pakistan and India on Thursday announced that they had agreed to observe a ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) and all other sectors.

The announcement was made simultaneously by both Islamabad and New Delhi after a telephonic conversation between senior military officials of the two countries.

The rare joint statement came against the backdrop of worsening relations between the two countries since the Pulwama incident in February 2019.

“The director generals of military operations of India and Pakistan held discussions over the established mechanism of hotline contact,” said a joint statement issued by the Indian and Pakistani armies.

"The two sides reviewed the situation along the LoC and all other sectors in a free, frank and cordial atmosphere," read the official handout.

The statement added that in the interest of achieving mutually beneficial and sustainable peace, the two DGMOs agreed to address each other’s core issues and concerns that have the propensity to disturb peace and lead to violence.

In a surprise and icebreaking development, Pakistan and India on Thursday announced that they had agreed to observe a ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) and all other sectors.

The announcement was made simultaneously by both Islamabad and New Delhi after a telephonic conversation between senior military officials of the two countries.

The rare joint statement came against the backdrop of worsening relations between the two countries since the Pulwama incident in February 2019.

“The director generals of military operations of India and Pakistan held discussions over the established mechanism of hotline contact,” said a joint statement issued by the Indian and Pakistani armies.

"The two sides reviewed the situation along the LoC and all other sectors in a free, frank and cordial atmosphere," read the official handout.

The statement added that in the interest of achieving mutually beneficial and sustainable peace, the two DGMOs agreed to address each other’s core issues and concerns that have the propensity to disturb peace and lead to violence.

Read: Sepoy martyred in Indian ceasefire violation along LoC

"Both the sides agreed to strictly observe all agreements, understandings and cease firing along the LoC and all other sectors, with effect from midnight 24/25 February 21," the statement said.

It further noted that both the sides reiterated that existing mechanisms of hotline contact and border flag meetings will be utilised to resolve any unforeseen situation or misunderstanding.

The thaw is seen as a major development after years of tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbours. It also came just days before the second anniversary of the Balakot incident and subsequent retaliation by Pakistan that brought the two countries on the brink of war.

The apparent thaw in ties is being attributed to quiet diplomacy between the two countries.

Moeed, according to the statement released by his office, confirmed that the ceasefire agreement was reached between the two countries through ‘behind-the-scene efforts’.

The de facto NSA termed the agreement as “solid and positive” development, saying it was the success of Pakistan’s diplomacy. “The problem of Kashmir that we want to resolve, and the way we want to resolve it, will happen,” he said in an audio message released by his office.

“So when people ask what the government’s policy is and what it is doing on Kashmir, and nothing is happening, they should realise that such things are done behind the scenes. Lots of effort is being made,” Moeed said without elaborating further.

“This is our success and the success of diplomacy and, God willing, more roads will open in the future,” he said and hinted at further steps to reduce tensions.

It is not clear if the latest move will lead to the resumption of talks but officials did not rule out the possibility of some kind of engagement.

Observers believe that the Indian government’s willingness to agree to a ceasefire may be linked to its tense standoff with China for months.

Although India and China recently disengaged from Pangong Lake in Ladakh region, tensions still persist between the two countries.

It is believed that India by seeking reduction in the tension along the LoC wants to concentrate on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China.