Pakistan and India have agreed to defuse tensions triggered by recent border clashes along the Line of Control (LoC), the two sides announced following talks between their senior military officials on Wednesday.
The director general military operations (DGMOs) from the two sides talked to each other on a ‘hotline’ and discussed the tensions along the de facto border in the disputed region of Kashmir, said a spokesperson for the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).
Though the Pakistan Army lodged a strong protest with India over Tuesday’s ceasefire violation which claimed the life of a Pakistani soldier, the two sides reached an understanding to de-escalate tensions. “Both sides agreed on the need to reduce tension on the LoC,” the spokesperson added.
Indian Army also confirmed the development, saying senior military commanders from two sides spoke for 10 minutes over the telephone where they reached their agreement.
“An understanding has been arrived at between the two DGMOs to de-escalate the situation along the LoC,” Indian Army spokesperson Jagdeep Dahiya said. He added that Pakistan’s DGMO Maj Gen Ashfaq Nadeem said strict instructions had been passed not to violate the ceasefire.
Dahiya said Indian troops stationed along the LoC would also not breach the ceasefire forged between the two countries in 2003. “We have always upheld the ceasefire and have only retaliated,” he added.
The LoC clashes that erupted on January 6 have claimed the lives of five soldiers, including three Pakistanis. Pakistan sought to lower the temperature on Monday by opting not to react to some of the hostile statements made by Indian leaders, including their army chief.
The village of Dara Sher Khan in Tatta Pani Sector, where a Pakistani soldier was killed, appeared deserted on Wednesday as residents cowered in their homes. Muhammad Afsar, a former armyman, said he and his family hid under bedding in their newly-built house, which was damaged by mortar shrapnel fired by Indian gunners.
“Indian soldiers keep watching our activities and we live in a state of constant fear,” he told AFP.
(WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM AFP)
Published in The Express Tribune, January 17th, 2013.