LoC Firing

Engagement is the only option if the two countries have to avert a major crisis

Yet another Army man was  killed on Saturday in ceasefire violation on the Line of Control in Keran sector of north Kashmir's Kupwara district, taking the number of the security personnel killed in the continuing firing exchanges to eight. Ever since India announced that it had carried out a surgical strike across LoC on September 29, the cross-LoC firing has become a daily occurrence. There have been around 90 ceasefire violations along the LoC and the International Border in Jammu, and around 20 in Valley. This has virtually broken down the 2003 ceasefire agreement which had held for close to a decade before starting to unravel over the past three years. But never has the agreement been so blatantly flouted as it has been now. We have come to a point where the two countries do not put up even a pretence of being in some ceasefire agreement. Under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the government in New Delhi wants its forces to effectively reply to Pakistan's transgressions.  And both nations have allowed the situation to deteriorate and neither seems ready to take the first step towards normalising the situation. This is a dangerous state of affairs and there is every chance about the situation getting out of hand.  For example, another major attack in Kashmir or the rest of India could push the situation over the edge. Already, thousands of families across the border villages Border have been affected due to Pakistani firing. Government, as a result, has shifted people to safer places. The cross-border firing has had a similar effect on the other side with people being forced to shift from their homes.  The two countries are left with no basic relations or the crisis tools to deal with an extra-ordinary situation, say the intensification of the LoC firing or a big terror strike. This calls for the neighbours to step back and introspect a future course of action.  Continuing with the current stalemate is dangerous and fraught with the prospect of a dangerous escalation. Engagement is the only option if the two countries have to avert not only a major crisis but also to find an acceptable solution to the long-pending issues which alone will ensure a sustainable peace and the prosperity.

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