Indian Army chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane has said that the observance of a ceasefire along the Line of Control by the Pakistani and Indian militaries is the first step towards improvement of ties between the two countries.
“This is the first step on the long road to normalisation of ties between the two countries, Gen Naravane said.
He said that India “would like the ceasefire to continue”.
The Indian army chief acknowledged that the move has “definitely led to an improvement in the security situation and benefited civilians living in forward areas”.
Ceasefire announced after DGMOs hold talks
The ceasefire was announced in February after the director-generals of military operations of India and Pakistan reviewed the situation along the Line of Control and all other sectors in a “free, frank and cordial atmosphere,” according to the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).
The two DGs of military operations made hotline contact in the interest of achieving “mutually beneficial and sustainable peace”, the ISPR statement read.
It said they agreed to address each other’s core issues and concerns which have the propensity to disturb peace and lead to violence.
Both sides agreed for strict observance of all agreements, understandings and cease firing along the LOC and all other sectors, with effect from midnight 24/25 February 21.
It was reiterated by Pakistan and India that existing mechanisms of hotline contact and border flag meetings will be utilised to resolve any unforeseen situation or misunderstanding.
2003 ceasefire agreement
The statement was considered an attempt by both nations to adhere to the ceasefire on the LoC that was agreed in 2003.
The 2003 ceasefire agreement had three main points.
- Defence construction —- new defence construction will not be done within 500 meters of the LoC. However, defensive positions can be maintained.
- Firing — direct engagement with each other’s posts will be avoided.
- Flag meeting and hotline contact — Both sides can demand a flag meeting at the level of local commanders to resolve any issues along the LoC. If a clarification on any issue is required, it can be sought through a flag meeting or hotline contact.
Director-General Inter-Services Public Relations Major General Babar Iftikhar confirmed India and Pakistan’s DGsMO have been contact over a hotline connection since 1987.
There was a spike in ceasefire violations along the LoC from 2014, he said.
He said both DGsMO have agreed that the existing 2003 agreement should be implemented in letter and spirit.