Indo-Pak ceasefire pact will be durable only if terrorist infiltrations stop
India and Pakistan took a very important step when it decided to implement in letter and spirit the ceasefire pact of 2003. This means that there would be no cross border firing. This could not have come at a better time considering tensions along the border had increased and nearly 800 incidents were reported in 2017 alone.
The pact between India and Pakistan came into place on November 25 2003. The armies of both the countries agreed over a phone call to have their armies stop firing at each other. Along with the LoC, India had also asked for the agreement to cover the Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) in Siachen. Indian DGMO Lieutenant General AS Bhaiya and his Pakistani counterpart General A Kayani agreed to cease assault, effective from midnight of 25 November in 2003.
That year, the Ministry for External Affairs had said that, India has been positive in its response to Pakistan Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali's offer of ceasefire along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir. India has thereby shown that it is always ready to appreciate any meaningful move from the other side if it helps to create an atmosphere conducive to improving relations between the two neighbours. In fact, New Delhi has gone a step further by extending the ceasefire to the Actual Ground Position Line in Siachen, which has been happily reciprocated by Islamabad.
While the guns would fall silent along the border, India hopes that Pakistan would also ensure that there are no infiltrations taking place. Infiltration of terrorists from the Lashkar-e-Tayiba and Jaish-e-Mohammad have been of utmost concern. Several Intelligence Bureau reports in the possession of OneIndia speak about active training camps along the border from where nearly 100 terrorists would be launched on to Indian soil.
Back in 2003, India had said that in order to establish a full ceasefire on a durable basis, there must be an end to infiltration from across the Line of Control. To take this process further, India also proposed a ceasefire along the Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) in Siachen.
India had expressed concern and said that it was unfortunate that Pakistan had rejected India's stand that the ceasefire will be durable only if terrorists' infiltration into Jammu and Kashmir from across the border ends. Islamabad must realise the importance of the sensitive issue.
It must also dismantle the 85 or more terrorist training camps in Pakistan and Occupied Kashmir and discontinue the communication and other facilities provided to militants in the interest of good neighbourly relations. Instead of taking these points seriously, the Musharraf regime has reportedly shifted some of these camps nearer to the LoC. This is not how a hand of friendship is extended. Banning a few terrorist outfits only on paper, as Pakistan has done for international (read the US) consumption, will not do. What is required is a change at the ground level.
This is not possible unless there is the sincerity of purpose, sadly missing in Pakistan's approach, India had said back then.
The problem of infiltration is unlikely to come to an end with the latest developments. Senior officials said that there would be peace of mind for our soldiers following the decision, but none can ever let their guard down as infiltrations would continue.
On Tuesday following a conversation between Indian DGMO Lt Gen Anil Chauhan and Pakistan's Maj Gen Sahir Shamshad Mirza, the two armies issued identical statements saying both sides agreed to fully implement the 15-year-old ceasefire understanding.
"Both the DGMOs agreed to fully implement the Ceasefire Understanding of 2003 in letter and spirit forthwith and to ensure that henceforth the ceasefire will not be violated by both sides," the Indian Army said.
The Pakistan Army, in a statement, said both the DGMOs agreed to undertake sincere measures to improve the existing situation to ensure peace and avoidance of hardships to the civilians along the borders.
The LoC has been witnessing increasing hostilities in the last few months.
A total of 908 incidents of ceasefire violations by Pakistan Army were reported till today in the current year as against 860 incidents during 2017, defence sources in New Delhi said.
"It was also mutually agreed that in case of any issue, restraint will be exercised and the matter will be resolved through utilisation of existing mechanisms of hotline contacts and Border Flag Meetings at Local Commanders' Level," the Indian Army statement said.
It said the Indian Army DGMO agreed with the proposal to undertake sincere measures to improve the existing situation to ensure peace and avoidance of hardships to the civilians along the borders.