Indo-Pak border ceasefire in JK completes four years

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Srinagar, Nov 26: The ceasefire along India-Pakistan borders and the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir today completed four years with truce holding firmly barring some minor aberrations.

For the conflict-weary residents of all border districts of Jammu and Kashmir, the dawn of November 26, 2003 heralded not only the festivities of Eid-ul-Fitr, but also brought hope and cheers.

Booming guns across the borders fell silent as India and Pakistan announced a ceasefire on this day four years ago.

No major incident, be it shelling or gunfight, has been reported from anywhere along the 1,126 India-Pakistan borders in Jammu and Kashmir -- 778-km LoC, 198-km International Border and 150-km stretch of the Actual Ground Position Line in Siachen -- during the past four years of ceasefire, the first between the two armies since the outbreak of militancy in the state in late 1980s.

Defence spokesman Lt Col A K Mathur said there have been no reports of any violations of truce from Kashmir and Ladakh regions.

''The borders have been calm during the period. There have been no violations of ceasefire. Both the armies have respected and observed the truce agreement in letter and spirit,'' he added.

Col Mathur said the ceasefire between India and Pakistan was holding firmly so far. ''There is no question of any breakdown in the truce agreement,'' he said.

However, sources claimed that three instances of ceasefire violations by Pakistani Rangers along the international border have so far been reported on August 15, September 12 and October 22 last year. The violations were reported from border areas in Jammu and Rajasthan, they added.

Yesterday, a soldier, Naik Ajay Kumar Lama, was reportedly killed and two others wounded in the firing incident from across the LoC in Kishna Ghati area of Poonch district in Jammu region.

However, Jammu-based defence spokesman Lt Col S D Goswami refused to comment on being asked if the firing was a violation of ceasefire saying, the Army was probing the incident though confirming the death of the soldier due to ''hostile fire'' in Poonch sector.

The sources further claimed that a total of 73 incidents of violations of the Indian airspace by Pakistani aircraft were reported from August 2005 to July 2007.

However, they said a substantial number of these incidents of violations were in areas devastated by a powerful earthquake on October 8, 2005 by Pakistan and the United Nations helicopters operating from the neighbouring country probably while undertaking relief operations in affected villages.

UNI

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