ISLAMABAD: The director-generals military operations of Pakistan and India will meet next week to work out a mechanism to ease tensions and maintain ceasefire at the heavily militarized Line of Control.
According to a press release by the foreign office, the invitation was sent out by Pakistan’s DGMO Major-General Amir Riaz to his Indian counterpart for a meeting “to strengthen the mechanism to ensure ceasefire on the Line of Control (LOC).”
Under a mechanism agreed in September between the Indian and Pakistani prime ministers in New York, the two countries had agreed that their DGMOs would hold regular talks for reducing tensions along the LoC.
The foreign office said the process would finally take off next week, with the meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Dec 24.
According to a report by the Times of India, officials said the Indian DGMO Vinod Bhatia had accepted the offer to hold the meeting on the Pakistani side of the Wagah border in Punjab.
“The DGMOs will discuss measures to ‘strengthen’ the ceasefire that came into force along the 198-km International Border (IB) in J&K, the 778-km Line of Control (LoC) and the 110-km Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) in the Siachen-Saltoro Ridge on November 26, 2003, as a major CBM between India and Pakistan,” said the report.
The two countries agreed to a ceasefire along the LoC in 2003, but the agreement has been periodically breached, with both sides regularly accusing each other of violations.
Though hostilities have relatively cooled down now, border troops have exchanged fire several times over the past few months.
Pakistan had suggested including civilian diplomats in the proposed DGMOs’ dialogue, with reports in US and Indian media claiming that the US had asked India to accept the suggestion.
Reports said US believes involving civilian diplomats would help strengthen the civilian government in Pakistan and the role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
However, the offer was turned down by the Indian side.
Indian Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh was quoted as saying that the LoC was a military issue and New Delhi “did not see a diplomatic role in what was essentially a military issue.”