India, Pakistan DGMOs decide to maintain LoC ceasefire
The agreement came at a meeting of the Directors General of Military Operations (DGMOs) of the two sides, who held face-to-face talks for the first time in 14 years at the Wagah border
Wagah (Pak): India and Pakistan today decided to strengthen existing mechanisms to maintain the truce along the LoC, months after bilateral ties nosedived over the killing of five Indian soldiers and flare-ups between the two sides on the ceasefire line.
The agreement came at a meeting of the Directors General of Military Operations (DGMOs) of the two sides, who held face-to-face talks for the first time in 14 years at the Wagah border.
“We had a cordial, constructive and fruitful meeting. We discussed the ceasefire along the Line of Control (LoC) and the existing mechanisms,” DGMO Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia said after the two-hour-long talks with his Pakistani counterpart Maj Gen Aamer Riaz.
“We both decided to ensure ceasefire and strengthen the existing mechanisms.”
The meeting was an outcome of talks between Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and Nawaz Sharif in New York in September at the height of tensions triggered by the LoC flare-ups.
The premiers had decided the DGMOs should hold talks to reduce tensions but the meeting could not be scheduled till now, over which Singh had even expressed disappointment with Sharif.
Besides the DGMOs, a brigadier and three lieutenant colonels from both sides took part in the talks. The Pakistani military released photos of Riaz receiving Bhatia at the border and a picture of the meeting.
A Pakistani military statement issued earlier said the decision to hold the meeting of the DGMOs was made at the political level.
Besides tensions on the Line of Control (LoC), the DGMOs were expected to discuss matters related to the international boundary with a focus on maintaining the 2003 ceasefire and ensuring normalcy, the statement said.
Five Indian soldiers were killed in an attack by Pakistani troops along the LoC in August while two more were killed in January. Both sides also repeatedly accused each other of violating the ceasefire on the LoC.
The DGMOs last met 14 years ago after the Kargil conflict of 1999. They usually talk once a week on their hotline. India is believed to have forcefully conveyed to Pakistan the importance of maintaining the ceasefire.
Pakistani media reports said Islamabad was expected to seek a larger role for UN military observers deployed along the LoC.
The UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) was established in 1949 under a resolution passed by the Security Council to monitor the ceasefire line.
Pakistan had proposed the inclusion of Foreign Ministry officials in the meeting of the DGMOs but India rejected the move. Pakistan’s Foreign Office said last week that its proposal for including diplomats in such meetings was “still on the table”.