India and Pakistan to observe ceasefire along the Line of Control and in all other sectors in Jammu and Kashmir

Published : February 25, 2021 19:08 IST

Border Security Force personnel patrolling near the Line of Control in north Kashmir on January 26. Photo: NISSAR AHMAD

In a significant move, India and Pakistan today announced their decision to observe a ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) and all other sectors in Jammu and Kashmir. A joint statement issued by the Armies of the two neighbouring countries said that the ceasefire was already in effect and that it started at zero hours on the intervening night of February 24 and 25.

This is being viewed as a recommitment on the part of the two countries to the ceasefire agreement reached between them in 2003.

The joint statement was preceded by a discussion between India’s Lt General Paramjit Singh Sangha, Director General of Military Operations (DGMO), and Major General Nauman Zakaria, his Pakistani counterpart.. The discussion was held over the official telephone hotline.

The move follows a grave and long-standing border face-off between India and China in the Ladakh sector of the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The border flare-up first began in May 2020 and has continued since then even as the two sides have been holding several rounds of talks.

According to news reports, Lt General Paramjit Singh Sangha and Major General Nauman Zakaria “reviewed the situation along the Line of Control and all other sectors in a free, frank and cordial atmosphere”.

The joint statement said: “Both sides agreed for strict observance of all agreements, understandings and cease firing along the Line of Control and all other sectors with effect from midnight 24/25 Feb 2021.”

The DGMOs also “agreed to address each other’s core issues and concerns which have propensity to disturb peace and lead to violence” in the interest of “achieving mutually beneficial and sustainable peace along the borders”.

The two countries have agreed to resolve any unforeseen situation or misunderstanding through hotline contact and border flag meetings that are part of the existing mechanism to communicate and engage.

Ever since the Pulwama attack of February 14, 2019, there have been tensions and shelling at the LoC, with bilateral relations between India and Pakistan hitting a record low. India’s decision to scrap Jammu and Kashmir’s special status in August 2019 aggravated the tensions.

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