Military officials from Pakistan and India on Friday agreed to further strengthen the ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC).
The decision was taken during a brigadier-level flag meeting held at the Rawalakot-Poonch crossing point at the LoC, said a statement issued by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).
“The meeting was held as part of a decision taken by both sides during the meeting between the [two countries’] directors general military operations (DGMOs) at Wagha on December 24, last year,” it added.
There were five officers in the flag meeting team from both sides, headed by their respective brigade commanders. The meeting lasted over one and a half hour.
The meeting took place just days after both sides accused each other of violating the ceasefire along the LoC in the disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir.
On January 13, India claimed Pakistani troops violated the ceasefire along the LoC. At the time, Indian army chief General Bikram Singh said it could not be expected that New Delhi would stick by the rules if Islamabad did not.
In a news conference, Gen Singh described the LoC violations as a ‘mini war’. He added that the Indian army would give a ‘befitting response’ in any sector where Indian soldiers were fired upon.
Pakistan Army termed the Indian allegations baseless and reiterated that it was respecting the ceasefire along the LoC in ‘letter and spirit’.
According to the Press Trust of India (PTI), the Indian side lodged a strong protest with Pakistan over the ceasefire violations at the brigadier-level flag meeting in Poonch district. “We have lodged a strong protest with the Pakistan Army authorities over the ceasefire violations along LoC,” PTI quoted an unnamed senior India army officer as saying.
“Pakistani authorities denied the ceasefire violations from their side,” the officer said, adding that the meeting was held in a cordial and conducive atmosphere.
A statement issued by the Indian defence ministry termed the meeting another step forward in the confidence-building measures agreed upon by both sides during last December’s rare face-to-face DGMOs meeting.
“Both delegations were led by Brigadier level officers and discussed various issues related to the ceasefire agreement as well as the need to improve the responsiveness of existing communication channels,” the Indian defence spokesperson said.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 18th, 2014.