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India, Pakistan agree to restore ceasefire along disputed Kashmir border

2 countries’ directors general of military operations hold discussions, agree to ‘strict observance of all agreements’

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India and Pakistan’s militaries said on Thursday they agreed to cease firing on the disputed Kashmir border.

In a joint statement, the two countries’ director generals of military operations held discussions over the established mechanism of “hotline contact.”

“The two sides reviewed the situation along the Line of Control and all other sectors in a free, frank and cordial atmosphere,” the statement noted.

The Line of Control is a de facto border that divides the Kashmir valley between the two nuclear neighbors.

Read more: UN chief calls upon Pakistan & India to resolve Kashmir dispute together

It said that the two military officials “agreed to address each other’s core issues and concerns which have propensity to disturb peace and lead to violence.”

“Both sides agreed for strict observance of all agreements, understandings and cease firing along the Line of Control and all other sectors with effect from midnight 24/25 Feb 2021,” said the statement.

Until now, the Kashmir border witnessed increase in the cross-border shelling with both armies regularly accusing each other of violating the 2003-signed ceasefire.

Thursday’s statement said both sides “reiterated that existing mechanisms of hotline contact and border flag meetings will be utilized to resolve any unforeseen situation or misunderstanding.”

Tension on Line of Control

On the current situation along the Line of Control (LoC) — a de facto border that divides the disputed Kashmir valley between India and Pakistan — the military spokesman said tensions between the two South Asian nuclear powers still exist.

“Yes, there is a lot of tension at the LoC between the two nuclear countries especially after Aug. 5, 2019,” Iftikhar said. He was referring to Aug. 5, 2019 Indian actions when New Delhi stripped Jammu and Kashmir of its autonomous status. It was split into two federally administered territories.

Read more: Op-ed: Internationalization of Kashmir is India’s biggest weakness

Kashmir is held by India and Pakistan in parts but claimed by both in full. A small sliver of the region is also under Chinese control. Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars, two of them over Kashmir.

Some Kashmiri groups have been fighting against the Indian rule for independence, or unification with neighboring Pakistan. According to several human rights organizations, thousands of people have been killed and tortured in the conflict that flared up in 1989.

Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk

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