Synopsis: Recently India and Pakistan issued a joint statement to strictly observe the ceasefire agreements along the LoC and other sectors. This has significant implications for peaceful border management along LoC (J&K) and other sectors.
- There were around 5130 ceasefire violations in 2020 registered on either side of the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).
- In the backdrop of this hostile climate, the two Director General of Military Operations (DGMOs) from both Pakistan and India had issued a joint statement on February 24-25, to begin the ceasefire.
- This statement is viewed as a path-breaking initiative from a conflict management point of view. It can be attributed to the success of high-level contacts through back-channel process.
- It can be understood that both countries have realised that an unsettled border helps no one.
Ceasefire agreements between India and Pakistan:
There are several agreements signed between India and Pakistan to resolve the border dispute. They are,
- The Karachi agreement of 1949
- This agreement ended the first war between newly formed India and Pakistan.
- It was the first ceasefire agreement between the two countries. It was supervised by the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan. This agreement created a boundary line in Kashmir called the Ceasefire Line or CFL.
- Accordingly, the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) was mandated to monitor the ceasefire along the CFL.
- The Tashkent Agreement of 1965
- The India-Pakistan war of 1965 also ended in a ceasefire. But, the CFL was unaltered in this agreement also. So similar to the Karachi agreement the status quo was maintained in border areas even after signing the Tashkent agreement.
- The Simla Agreement of 1972
- This agreement was signed after the Bangladesh liberation war of 1971.
- But unlike 1965, the status quo was changed under the Simla Agreement.
- The Suchetgarh Agreement of 1972 delineated the ‘line of control’ in Jammu and Kashmir. So the Simla agreement converted the ceasefire line into a Line of Control (LoC).
- Further, Under this agreement both the countries agreed to resolve the disputes bilaterally
- This was considered as a smart move by India because of two reasons,
- It changed the nomenclature and the physical alignment of the India-Pakistan dividing line in Kashmir.
- It also made the UNMOGIP presence in Kashmir irrelevant. As the UN was not even a party to the Simla Agreement.
- Ceasefire Agreement of 2003
- This agreement came after four years of Kargil and two years after the Indian Parliament got attacked.
- Pakistan PM announced the Ceasefire on LoC on November 26, 2003.
- It is not a formalised document.
- The recent announcement by the DGMOs is also seen as the reiteration of the ceasefire agreement of Simla. As the 2003 agreement not formalised.
- Further, the announcement is also considered as one of the most significant military measures by India and Pakistan in over 18 years. The reasons were,
- The recent announcement mentions a specific date to begin the ceasefire. (midnight of February 24-25).
- It will help India to avoid a two-front situation i.e., Pakistan and China on both sides of Indian borders. Dealing with a two-front situation is neither easy nor practical for India for reasons like,
- The Indian Army had to redeploy forces from the western border with Pakistan to the northern border with China to deal with the situation. It poses serious material challenges.
- By agreeing to February 2021 ceasefire, India has defused the western challenge from Pakistan first. Now the army can focus more on the Northern borders with China.
- The rules enshrined in the Simla Agreement has to be rewritten or both the countries have to formalise the 2003 ceasefire agreement. Experiences from conflict zones around the world show that an unwritten ceasefire tends to break down easily and trigger tensions.
- To create stability in bilateral relations Both countries need to progress in other domains also.
Ceasefire between India and Pakistan: Prospects of strengthening bilateral relations