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India, Pak to observe ceasefire from midnight


Tuesday 25 November 2003

Article paru dans Outlook India, ?dition du 25 novembre 2003.

In a significant decision carrying forward the peace process, India and Pakistan today agreed on an Eid ceasefire along the Line of Control, International Border and Siachen glacier, the first formal truce between the two armies since the outbreak of militancy in Jammu and Kashmir.


A day after India said it would respond "positively" to Pakistan’s unilateral ceasefire offer along the LoC, the truce decision was wrapped up by the Director-General of Military Operations of India Lt. Gen. B S Takhar and his Pakistani counterpart Maj. Gen. Mohd. Yousuf on hotline today.

The announcement about the ceasefire was made simultaneously in New Delhi and Islamabad.

"Directors-General of Military Operations of India and Pakistan, in the course of their weekly conversation today, agreed to observe a ceasefire with effect from midnight tonight along the International Border, LoC and Actual Ground Position Line (Siachen) in Jammu and Kashmir." The ceasefire covers the 778-km long LoC, 150-km long Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) in Siachen, the world’s highest battlefield and the 198 km International Border.

Defence Ministry sources in New Delhi said there would be no let up in anti-militancy operations within Jammu and Kashmir.

Pakistan Foreign office spokesman Masood Khan said in Islamabad that the ceasefire would cover length and breadth of the borders, including LoC, ’Working’ boundary and Siachen.

He said Pakistan’s intention was to continue the ceasefire for an indefinite period.

Pakistani Defence spokesman Maj Gen Shukat Sultan said that his country’s armed forces on the India-Pak borders have been given instruction to observe ceasefire from midnight.

He said communication link would be used by both sides in case of breach of the ceasefire.

Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had in November 2000 announced a Ramazan cesefire in Jammu and Kashmir aimed at bringing the militant groups for talks with the Centre’s interlocutors. However, this was rejected by Pakistan-based Hizbul Chief Syed Salahuddin.

Foreign Secretary Kanwal Sibal said India was looking for a dialogue with Pakistan but made it clear that Islamabad has to "perform" on keeping its promise to end cross-border terrorism. He described Pakistan’s ceasefire decision as "encouraging".

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