WORLD / ASIA-PACIFIC
India, Pakistan agree to stop border gunfire in Kashmir
Published: Feb 25, 2021 05:13 PM

Indian paramilitary troopers stand guard near the Shar-e-Kashmir stadium, the main venue of India Republic Day celebration in Srinagar city, the summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir, Jan. 25, 2021. Security was beefed up in Indian-controlled Kashmir ahead of India Republic Day celebration. (Xinhua/Javed Dar)

India and Pakistan's militaries said on Thursday that they had agreed to stop firing along their disputed border in Kashmir, where such gunfire has been frequent in recent months, often killing or maiming people living in the area.

"In the interest of achieving mutually beneficial and sustainable peace along the borders, the two DGsMO [Director Generals of Military Operations] agreed to address each other's core issues and concerns which have propensity to disturb peace and lead to violence," a joint statement said, referring to the military operations heads of the two countries.

The nuclear-armed neighbors signed a cease-fire agreement along the Line of Control (LoC) - the de facto border in the Kashmir region - in 2003, but the truce has been fraying in recent years.

An official in New Delhi said the cessation was partly aimed at easing the fraught situation for civilians living along the border, who are regularly caught in the crossfire.

"We are cautiously optimistic that the violence levels and tensions along the LoC will come down," the official said, declining to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter.

But India will not ease up on deployments along the LoC that aim to stop infiltration or counterinsurgency operations in the Kashmir valley, the official said.

In summer 2020, Indian and Pakistani troops were locked in their most frequent cross-border fighting in at least two years, amid surging coronavirus outbreaks.

Both countries claim the region in full, but control only parts.

Reuters
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