India and Pakistan agree to stop cross-border firing in Kashmir

 Indian Border Security Force members Indian Border Security Force members Photo by Melissa Kopka on iStock

25 February 2021

In a rare move, India and Pakistan declare an end to cross-border firing in the long-disputed region of Kashmir

On 25 February 2021, India and Pakistan’s militaries proclaimed an end to the cross-border firing on the disputed Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir. Kashmir has remained a highly disputed region for over 70 years between the two nations. In recent months, gunfire exchange has occurred at higher frequencies, leading the military operational heads of both countries to seek an amelioration to the situation. A joint statement was released from the military leaders, in which they agreed to discuss each other's concerns in hopes of attaining sustainable peace. 

Since 2003, “a ceasefire has been in place at the LoC, which divides Indian-administered and Pakistan-administered Kashmir, but it is frequently violated by both sides.” Such violations often result in civilian and military casualties. According to India’s Home affairs Ministry, Pakistan violated the ceasefire along the LoC at least 5,133 times in 2020, causing the death of 22 civilians and 24 soldiers, in addition to 197 injuries. Meanwhile, Pakistan claims that Indian forces have violated the ceasefire at least 175 times in 2021 alone, wounding eight civilians. Indian rule has been violently combated by rebels in Kashmir since 1989, and Deutsche Welle reports that some estimates suggest that over 70,000 people have died as a result of the armed conflict.

While the declaration of ‘strict observance’ of the ceasefire has created much discussion amongst scholars, many are skeptical whether the agreement will lead to any significant change. Citizens have witnessed similar declarations before, which have yet to initiate genuine and sustainable peace. Mehbooba Mufti, former Chief Minister of the Indian-administered Kashmir region, suggests that “the two countries should also initiate a political dialogue and reconciliation to bring peace in Kashmir.” Ceasefire violations have generated much conflict, leading to the deaths of many civilians, police personnel, and soldiers.

 

To know more, please read:

www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/2/25/india-pakistan-agree-to-stop-cross-border-firing-in-kashmir

www.dw.com/en/india-pakistan-agree-to-stop-firing-at-kashmir-border/a-56683894

 

Author: Sitara Sandhu; Editor: Gabriella Pavlakis

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