Pakistani, Indian armies agree to implement 2003 LoC ceasefire pact

DGMOs establish hotline contact: Want strict observance of all agreements, ceasefire along LoC, other sectors

By: News Desk      Published: 12:09 PM, 25 Feb, 2021
Pakistani, Indian armies agree to implement 2003 LoC ceasefire pact
Representative image.

Pakistan and Indian military commanders have established a hotline contact and discussed matters relating to maintaining ceasefire along Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

Is the ice is melting? The hotline contact was the second development between the arch-rivals within four days that can be seen as a thaw in the tense bilateral ties for years.

On Monday last, New Delhi had accepted Islamabad’s request to let Prime Minister Imran Khan’s plane use Indian airspace to reach Sri Lanka and now both the militaries have established a hotline contact even when the Line of Control was not hot these days.

According to a statement released by the military’s media wing, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), on Thursday, the Director Generals of Military Operations of Pakistan and India held discussions over the established mechanism of hotline contact.

The two sides reviewed the situation along the LoC and all other sectors in a free, frank and cordial atmosphere.

In the interest of achieving mutually beneficial and sustainable peace, the two DGMOs agreed to address each other’s core issues/concerns which have the propensity to disturb the 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 2021. 

Both sides reiterated that existing mechanisms of hotline contact and border flag meetings will be utilized to resolve any unforeseen situation or misunderstanding, concluded the ISPR statement.

Military spokesman Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar, in comments to private TV channels, said: "There has been contact between Pakistan and India on a hotline level since 1987. Frequently, the DGMOs of both countries stay in contact through this established mechanism."

He said that from 2014 there was a spike in ceasefire violations along the LoC. "Both the DGMOs have agreed that the existing 2003 understanding should be implemented in letter and spirit."

Both officials have agreed on making it sustainable and have expressed the intention to act on it, he said.

He added that there have been more than 13,500 ceasefire violations since 2003 which have claimed the lives of 310 citizens and injured 1,600.

He said that there is a great difference in the number of ceasefire violations and casualties between 2003-2013 and after 2014.

"Ninety-two percent of the figures shared occurred between 2014 and 2021," he said, adding that 49 women and 26 children have been martyred in the last four years.

He said that the year 2019 witnessed the most ceasefire violations while 2018 had the most casualties. "After the understanding between the two countries, it has been agreed to implement the 2003 ceasefire in letter and spirit," he said.

As soon as the news of the hotline contact came out, there were messages of welcome from many sides including from Kashmir.

Held Kashmir politician Mehbooba Mufti while offering a big welcome to the hotline contact said in a tweet “Dialogue is the only way forward if both the countries want to stop the violence.”

33 civilians martyred in AJK in 2020

Indian troops committed more than 2,900 ceasefire violations across the LoC in 2020, leaving as many as 33 innocent civilians martyred and another 260 wounded in different parts of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).

The youngest martyr was two-year-old Adeeb Sudhir of Neelum valley and the oldest martyrs were Jan Begum of district Bhimber and Muhammad Bashir of district Haveli, both over 75 years of age.

It may be mentioned here that there was a lull in clashes between the two militaries along the LoC and on the Working Boundary for quite some time. Before that, reports of clashes and casualties, especially civilian casualties on Pakistani side, were almost a daily affair.

About two weeks ago, the Indian Army had killed a civilian who mistakenly crossed LoC in Uri sector.

Imran uses Indian airspace

New Delhi on Monday last had accepted Islamabad’s request to let Prime Minister Imran Khan’s plane use Indian airspace to reach Sri Lanka.

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday while arriving at Colombo crossed into the airspace of India's exclusive economic zone. The permission for it was sought from New Delhi from Islamabad a few days ago. India had given permission on Monday.

As a protocol, whenever heads of state or government pass through the airspace of any other country, the country is alerted, and due permission taken. It is likely that PM Imran Khan will use the same route to return back from Sri Lanka to Pakistan. 

It may be noted that in the aftermath of India removing special status for the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan had denied permission for overflight for President Kovind's plane one time, and PM Modi's plane the second time.

In September 2019, Pakistan denied the use of its airspace for President Kovind's plane during his Europe visit. In the same month, it denied overflight to PM Modi's plane to attend the UNGA session, followed by no permission to Air India one during PM's Saudi Arabia visit in October 2019. India had taken the matter with the International Civil Aviation Organization.