India, Pakistan Agree To Stop Cross-Border Firing in Kashmir

A rare thaw comes after the director-general of military operations from both sides held talks over the hotline.

India, Pakistan agree to stop cross-border firing in Kashmir
India's Border Security Force (BSF) soldiers patrol near the India Pakistan border fencing at Garkha...

A statement from the Pakistan military said that Islamabad and New Delhi have agreed to observe the ceasefire at the de facto border between the two nations in the disputed valley of Kashmir. Experts suggest that it is a rare thaw between the neighboring rival nations.

It comes after the director-general of military operations from both sides held talks over the hotline. The statement further added that both sides agreed to observe the ceasefire and follow all other agreements from Friday. It said that the negotiations between the two nuclear-armed countries were held in a frank, free, and cordial atmosphere.

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Since 2003, a ceasefire between India and Pakistan has been in place, however, it is repeatedly violated by both sides, often resulting in civilian and military casualties. As many as twenty-eight civilians were killed last year as a result of the small arms, mortar fire, and artillery shells fired from the Indian side. Pakistani officials have maintained that since January this year, the Indian military has violated the ceasefire more than 157 times.

On the other hand, New Delhi maintained that throughout 2020, the Pakistani side violated ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) nearly 5,133 times, resulting in a total of 197 injuries and 22 civilians as well as 24 troops dead. The former chief minister of the Indian-administered Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti, welcomed the ceasefire announcement, adding that the two nations should hold bilateral talks to end the Kashmir issue.

While talking to Aljazeera, Mufti said that the ceasefire violations create a lot of destruction and added that there was an urgent need to end the violence in the region. However, the residents of the Himalayan region are still skeptical, arguing the Islamabad and New Delhi need to work on ending the crisis in a real sense. Meanwhile, experts suggest that political will might be the problem on both sides.

Since the two nations got independence, the neighbors have fought a total of three wars and numerous other several conflicts. Two of the wars were over the disputed region of Kashmir, which both India and Pakistan claim in its entirety. Since February last year, the relations have come to a standstill after more than thirty Indian paramilitary troops were killed in Pulwama.

A few days down the lane, New Delhi claimed that it conducted strikes on Pakistani soil against what it called “terror camps.” The escalation resulted in a dogfight, which saw the Pakistani pilots down an Indian plane. But the tensions cooled down after Prime Minister Imran Khan announced to immediately release the captured Indian pilot. India accuses Pakistan of supporting the terror groups in Kashmir as well as other parts of the country, while Islamabad has leveled the same allegations against New Delhi.

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