Right step in right direction

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Cessation of hostility along LoC

Finally there is some good news, particularly, for those who live along the Line of Control (LoC), the imaginary line dividing the two parts of erstwhile princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. The militaries of India and Pakistan have agreed to stop firing along the LoC where such firing has been frequent in recent months, often killing or maiming civilians living in the area. India and Pakistan had signed a ceasefire agreement along the LoC in 2003 and for several years the areas along the LoC and people living there had somewhat normal life. But the truce has been fraying in recent years and people living in these areas have been suffering unabated. While armies on the either side too faced casualties, the worst hit have been the civilians living there. All aspects of their lives have been impacted. The children can’t go to schools. People who, mostly, rare cattle can’t take their live stocks out for grazing. Threat of shells falling anytime, bullets hitting anyone has been a cause of worry for all the populace. In this backdrop, the recent statement, issued by the DGsMO of the two countries that in the interest of achieving mutually beneficial and sustainable peace along the borders, agreed to address each other’s core issues and concerns which have propensity to disturb peace and lead to violence. Army Chief Gen M M Naravane had on Wednesday confirmed that there was some continued engagement with Pakistan. He had exuded confidence that with continued engagement with Pakistan, there could be some sort of an understanding because unsettled borders and violence on the borders help no one.

Now that what the Army Chief had said has been authenticated by joint statement issued by DGsMO of both the country, it really is positive development that should be hailed and cheered by all. The fresh development reminds one of former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s quotable quote: “You can change your friends but not neighbours.” India is world’s largest democracy and therefore peace is what this country needs the most. It has already in process of having permanent peace with neighbouring China along Line of Actual Control (LAC) and now this agreement with Pakistan too would go a long way in guaranteeing peace in the region. Post 2003 ceasefire agreement, the people living along LoC, on either side of the divide, had lived some golden years without the fear or scare of losing their lives, live stock and houses. This fresh initiative would undoubtedly be a step towards restoration of peace and peace is what not only the people living along LoC deserve but the entire populations of the two countries.

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