By Asad Hashim and Rifat Fareed25 Feb 2021

Aljazeera Online

Pakistan and India’s militaries have agreed to strictly observe a ceasefire at the de facto border between the two countries in the disputed region of Kashmir, and other agreements, according to a Pakistani military statement – a rare thaw in relations between the South Asian neighbours.

The directors-general of military operations (DGMO) of the Indian and Pakistani militaries held discussions over a hotline between their offices on Thursday morning, a Pakistani military statement said.

“Both sides agreed for strict observance of all agreements, understandings and cease firing along the [Line of Control] and all other sectors, with effect from midnight [on Friday],” said the statement.

The statement said talks were held “in a free, frank and cordial atmosphere” between the armies of the two nuclear-armed countries.

A ceasefire has been in place at the Line of Control (LoC), which divides Indian-administered and Pakistan-administered Kashmir, since 2003, but it is frequently violated by both sides, resulting in civilian and military casualties.

Last year, Indian small arms, and mortar fire and artillery shells killed at least 28 civilians and wounded 257 more in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, according to Pakistan’s foreign office.

Since January 1, Pakistan says Indian forces have violated the ceasefire at least 175 times, wounding eight civilians.

In 2020, Pakistan violated the ceasefire along the LoC at least 5,133 times, resulting in 22 civilians and 24 soldiers being killed, as well as 197 injuries, according to India’s home affairs ministry.

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