India and Pakistan issued a joint statement saying both sides have agreed to stop firing along their disputed border in Kashmir starting Thursday.
The director generals of military operations for the two countries held discussions where they reviewed the situation along the Line of Control – the de facto border between the Indian and Pakistani parts of Kashmir – in a “free, frank and cordial atmosphere,” according to the statement posted by India.
Frequent clashes and cross-border shelling along the Line of Control in recent months reportedly killed multiple civilians.
“In the interest of achieving mutually beneficial and sustainable peace along the borders, the two (director generals) agreed to address each other’s core issues and concerns which have propensity to disturb peace and lead to violence,” the statement read. It added that both sides will utilize existing mechanisms including a hotline to resolve tensions and misunderstandings.
Kashmir has always been a contentious issue for the two nuclear-armed rivals. Pakistan and India both lay claim to the full area but control only parts of it.
They have fought multiple wars over the mountainous region. In 2019, tensions escalated when both countries carried out retaliatory airstrikes against one another, prompting worries of a war breaking out in South Asia.
Since then, India stripped the state of Jammu & Kashmir of its special status that allowed it to make its own laws and turned the state into the union territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh. Pakistan criticized the move.
This week, Indian media reported that Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan said at a conference in Sri Lanka that Kashmir is the only dispute his country has with India and that it can only be resolved through dialogue.
Separately, India responded at the 46th Session of the U.N. Human Rights Council on Wednesday, where it said that Pakistan has “one of the world’s worst human rights records,” and that it should “put its own house in order, before venturing to point a finger at India.”