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HomeDEFENCEIndia-Pakistan border ceasefire agreement - prelude to peace?

India-Pakistan border ceasefire agreement – prelude to peace?

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India-Pakistan border ceasefire agreement - the prelude to peace?

The most recent significant battle along the India-Pakistan border occurred in February 2019, in direct response to a horrific suicide attack that killed 40 Indian soldiers in Pulwama. In retaliation, India launched airstrikes on a Jaish-e-Mohammed training centre in Pakistan. Following the intensification of hostilities, Pakistan launched its airstrikes. This issue pushed the two countries to the edge of a large-scale conflict, recalling the tense environment that prevailed during the Kargil War in 1999.

Despite the intensity of the situation, there has been no substantial outbreak of major conflict between India and Pakistan in the years after 2019. Several minor border skirmishes occurred, but they were limited and did not expand into all-out battles. A significant breakthrough occurred in 2020 when both sides agreed to adopt a ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC). This deal constituted a considerable difference from previous years, which saw hundreds of ceasefire breaches per year. Since the signing of the Director General of Military Operations (DGMOs) agreement in February 2021, ceasefire breaches and shelling along the LoC have been at an all-time low. India represented by Lt. Gen. Paramjit Singh Sangha and Maj. Gen. Nauman Zakaria for Pakistan signed the agreement that covers the entire length of the LoC, which is the de facto border between India and Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir and called for both sides to “strictly adhere” to the 2003 ceasefire agreement, which was previously violated by both countries regularly.

This pivotal border ceasefire agreement was reached between India and Pakistan, encompassing these critical aspects:

1. Agreement Adherence: Both nations committed to upholding previous agreements, including the 2003 Line of Control (LoC) ceasefire, aiming to prevent violations that had marred prior ceasefires, this harboured mutual commitment to stability and the mitigation of conflicts.

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2. Communication Emphasis: This clause underlined rapid resolution to avert the amplification of crises. The agreement underscored the importance of leveraging existing communication channels such as hotlines and flag meetings. This emphasis aimed to swiftly address misunderstandings, preventing minor disputes from escalating into major conflicts.

3. Core Concerns Recognition: This clause signified a willingness to engage in comprehensive discussions that surpassed geographical boundaries. The pact acknowledged the necessity of addressing underlying concerns, with a particular focus on Kashmir. This recognition showcased an understanding that the conflict extended beyond mere territorial disputes.

This landmark ceasefire sought to mitigate violence, de-escalate tensions, and prioritize fundamental issues to establish lasting peace. While minor breaches occurred, they notably reduced overall tensions.

This significant de-escalation had actual advantages. While shelling killed 24 troops and 22 civilians in 2020, successive years, including 2022 and the current year of 2023 till June, saw zero deaths among military and civilians alike. According to the Ministry of Defence, all violations of the ceasefire were addressed with proportionate action by security personnel.

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Also Read: Kashmir back to normalcy- all is well

Diplomatically, India has continuously emphasised the necessity of Pakistan maintaining the integrity of the Line of Control and the International Border in line with the existing understanding. This opinion has been communicated between the two countries at the highest levels of communication.

The civilian population living near the border has received the most immediate benefit from the truce. These people, often in their millions, have long borne the brunt of conflicts. Ceasefire breaches have traditionally resulted in tragic deaths, property devastation, and significant interruptions to everyday living, such as curfews and restricted access to key services. Agriculture and commerce have also suffered significantly.

However, with the execution of the ceasefire agreement, the situation took an optimistic turn. Civilians around the border have been allowed to continue their normal lives without fear of violence. Farming and other livelihood-related businesses have been revived, and the construction of bunkers for safety has offered an extra degree of security.  This increased stability has given communities a feeling of routine and saved them from the terrible effects of conflict.

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Finally, the most recent significant India-Pakistan border confrontation in February 2019 represented a watershed moment in the history of hostilities. In the years thereafter, there has been a determined attempt to calm hostilities, culminating in a landmark ceasefire accord in 2021. This advancement has resulted in a significant decrease in casualties and interruptions, both among military and civilians. While hostility between the two countries remains, the truce demonstrates the ability of diplomatic and cooperative efforts to reduce the fear of violence and increase the well-being of persons living in border areas.

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Vipul Tamhane
Vipul Tamhane
Vipul Tamhane is an Anti-Money Laundering and Combating Terrorist Financing (AML/CFT) specialist with expertise in international business, and Commercial Law. He is a visiting faculty at Pune University's Department of Defence and Strategic Studies, where he teaches Counter Terrorism to Masters and Postgraduate Diploma students. He is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Diplomacy Direct, an upcoming national-interest think tank dealing with counter-terrorism, national security, geopolitics, and international diplomacy.


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