Over the last several years now, India and Pakistan have been observing the 2003 agreement between them more in breach given the volume of violations indulged amid claims and counterclaims about initiation by both the countries.
In the latest incidents, more than a dozen persons including a 7-year-old boy and Indian soldiers were killed in north Kashmir on Friday, November 13.
According to the latest MHA data, 2952 ceasefire violations were reported until July 2020 and it left 15 civilians and eight army or BSF men dead on this side. Pakistan, on the other hand, has blamed the ceasefire on New Delhi and as per the country’s foreign office data, 2225 ceasefire violations occurred so far this year in which around two dozen people were killed while at least 176 civilians have been wounded.
These casualties are a natural extension of what has been unfolding along the International Boundary as well as the Line of Control for the past several months.
Now, as the two countries are caught in a spiral of almost daily exchanges of fire along the LoC, there is a danger of no return to the talks table which is dangerous for the regional peace. It is more so when the situation along LAC is edgy.
As per the statistics available, the last three years have seen increased violations since the ceasefire came into force.
Even thousands of civilians have been forced to flee their homes close to LoC on either side of it, resulting in enormous human sufferings. The psychological impact on the people from these hostilities is huge. There is constant fear and risk of being killed which adversely impacts mental wellbeing, particularly that of women, children, and the elderly. The people will face challenges to meet the weather vagaries of winter which is only getting harsher.
The continuous skirmishes can also be catastrophic for the region. All this makes the need for the talks all more important to address the animosity or at least reduce it to bare minimum levels. The peace on the LoC or the border is difficult to achieve at the tactical level by military leaders. Restoring the ceasefire requires real statesmanship, not brinkmanship.
The 2003 agreement was all but a triumph of diplomacy but in the last several years, both the countries have allowed drift which is widening with every day. It however can be arrested through high-level political intervention between the two neighbours.