Calm the border

On Saturday India and Pakistan DGMOs engaged in yet another war of words over the ceasefire violations.  Indian DGMO Lt. Gen. A K Bhat accused Pakistan of unprovoked firing, his Pakistani counterpart had a similar allegation against India.   Indian DGMO also told his counterpart  that there was a "disconnect" between the Pakistan Army headquarters which reiterates its desire for peace and the actions of Pakistan Army troops along the LoC who "resort to heavy firing without provocation", adding that the Pakistan Army should "resolve this existent credibility gap". However, both the DGMOs stuck to their official line that the ceasefire was violated by the other side. In recent past, the firing has intermittently taken place along the International Border and the Line of Control with both countries accusing each other of starting it. This has resulted in the loss of lives and injuries on both the sides. According to the data released by the Directorate General of Military Operations said in response to an RTI query, 509 ceasefire violations have taken place across  LoC until October leading to death 14 Indian Army personnel. And the data revealed by Pakistan blames India for 1,300 ceasefire violations along the LoC and the International Border. According to Pakistan Foreign Office record, 52 civilians have been killed on their side and over 170 others have been injured. Such state of affairs together with the hardening stance of the two countries against each other is hardly conducive to the bilateral dialogue in near term.  The calm borders through 2003-2007 had become an important factor in the normalization of the relations between the two countries, enabling them  to start  one of the most promising dialogue process which by accounts of the top leaders of the two countries spearheading it was close to a breakthrough on Kashmir. But with the return of the border eruptions in recent years, the situation has gone back to square one. And if left unattended, this portends a state of lingering hostility between the two nations. Hence the need for them to reach out to each other and pull the situation back from the brink. With the dialogue already suspended and tensions rising high,  India and Pakistan can ill-afford to let the border skirmishes go on unchecked and destroy any hope of reconciliation.

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