Indian, Pak armies hold flag meet on ceasefire agreement
The Indian and Pakistani armies on Friday held a flag meeting in the Poonch sector to ensure that both sides uphold the ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) in line with the understanding reached by the two director generals of military operations last month.
The two militaries last month announced that they had begun observing a ceasefire along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir from the midnight of February 24. Friday’s flag meet was held at the brigade commander level.
“Post the DGMOs Understanding 2021, a Brigade Commander Level Flag Meeting was held between Indian and Pakistan Army at Poonch Rawalkot Crossing Point on 26 Mar 2021 to discuss implementation mechanism as per the understanding,” the Indian Army said on Twitter.
“The ceasefire is holding good and the brigade-commander level flag meet was planned to ensure that both sides adhere to the understanding reached between the two DGMOs,” said a senior official.
It is for the first time in about five to six years that the LoC has been silent which bodes well for the future, army chief General MM Naravane said at an event on Friday. He said three reasons behind Pakistan’s move for peace were Financial Action Task Force (FATF) sanctions, domestic compulsions and the situation on its Western border with Afghanistan.
The 12 months preceding the announcement by the Indian and Pakistan militaries that they had begun observing a ceasefire along the LoC saw the highest number of border violations by the neigbouring army since the original ceasefire agreement in November 2003.
Official figures obtained by HT show that the Pakistan Army violated the ceasefire at least a dozen times daily on an average between February 2020 and February 2021 when both sides agreed to strict observance of all agreements and understandings to observe a ceasefire along the LoC.
The year 2020 witnessed 4,645 violations by Pakistan on the LoC, with August and September – the first anniversary of the Centre revoking the special status of the state on August 5, 2019 – accounting for the highest number of violations for any two consecutive months in 17 years. This figure for last year stood at more than 5,100 if the violations along the international border are also counted.
Data shows August and September alone accounted for 835 ceasefire violations last year. Ceasefire violations by the Pakistani Army sharply increased over the last five years – recording a 10-fold jump since 2016 when the Indian Army carried out surgical strikes against terror pads in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir in response to the Pakistan-backed suicide attack on an army camp in Uri. The year 2016 accounted for 449 violations, with the numbers only rocketing in the following years – 881 (2017), 1,629 (2018) and 3,168 (2019).
The unusual spike in ceasefire violations by the Pakistan army on the LoC in recent years was to help terrorist infiltrators sneak into Jammu and Kashmir to feed the terror machinery in the state and destabilise the region.