Breakdown of LoC truce

The past few weeks have witnessed a resurgence of the cross-LoC firing along the International Border and the Line of Control in Jammu. The latest border escalation, which incidentally has followed after New Delhi carried out surgical strikes across the LoC – albeit denied by Pakistan – has further soured the already strained ties. The Border Security Force has claimed the killing of seven Pakistan Rangers and one BSF jawan who was injured in cross-border exchange recently has succumbed to his injuries. According to the reports Pakistan has pounded border hamlets and outposts with mortar shells and opened fire from automatic weapons along the International Border in Jammu's RS Pura sector. This has triggered a fresh wave of evacuation in vulnerable villages. In some affected hamlets, bulletproof vehicles were pressed into service to evacuate over 400 people to safer areas. Similarly, border dwellers in Kathua district are once again experiencing the difficult times. The escalating trend of these violent border exchanges is yet another proof that the 2003 ceasefire agreement which held strong for close to a decade is now fraying. More so after the surgical strikes, which only goes to challenge the new-fangled wisdom that such measures will bring  permanent peace. On the contrary, other than their political utility for the parties in power, the measures  like surgical strikes would only make conflict permanent with an ever present chance of leading to an all out war. The calm borders had become an important factor in the normalization of the relations between the two countries, enabling New Delhi and Islamabad to start  one of the most promising dialogue processes through 2003-2007 which by accounts of the top leaders of the two countries  who were at the helm of it was close to a breakthrough on Kashmir. But with return of the border eruptions with a vengeance, the situation is threatening to go back to square one. And if left unattended, the situation is likely to worsen in the days to come. Hence the need for the two countries to reach out to each other and pull the situation back from the brink. With dialogue already suspended and tensions rising high,  India and Pakistan can ill-afford to let the border skirmishes go on unchecked and escalate into a major conflict.

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