India and Pakistan have agreed to adhere to the 2003 ceasefire agreement on the Line of Control and other sectors after talks between senior officials of the military this week. Officials said it would have no impact on anti-terror operations and troops in Jammu and Kashmir will not be relocated.
In a joint statement on Thursday, the defence ministry said that Director General Military Operations talked over hotline and both sides have reviewed the LoC situation. “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 Wednesday midnight, the official statement said.
The development comes at a time when the Biden administration seems keen to discard the Doha deal with Taliban, signed by the Trump administration, and retain US and Nato presence in Afghanistan. There is a view that if international community does not engage with Pakistan, it would fully embrace China and all options on Afghanistan would be closed. It was felt that India could open some channel of communication with the Pakistan Army in the wider geo-political interests.
The current round of talks happened after the NSA established contacts with the Pakistan Army through intermediaries, ET has learnt.
Army officials said that there will be no letup in the anti-infiltration grid along the LoC and anti-terror operations will continue unabated. A no-tolerance policy against terrorism and infiltration across the LoC remains a primary focus of the Army.
“Both sides reiterated that existing mechanisms of hotline contact and border flag meetings will be utilised to resolve any unforeseen situation or misunderstanding,” the official statement said. Officials said that they were cautiously optimistic but there is a bitter history with Pakistan, where peace processes have been derailed due to acts of terror, often with the support of the Pakistan Army.
They said that the Army had the freedom to take operational decisions and there would be a firm response in case of any terror attack or unprovoked incident on the border. Past agreements with Pakistan to cease fire on LoC have not yielded spectacular results. The last attempt in May 2019 was never fully implemented on the ground.