Promise of calm after DGMOs talk

FP

After a week of almost daily exchange of fire on the Line of Control (LoC) in the Mendhar sector, India and Pakistan Wednesday agreed to make efforts to de-escalate the matter by strictly adhering to the ceasefire agreement.

The director generals of military operations (DGMOs) of the two sides talked on the phone Wednesday morning, with Pakistani DGMO Major General Ashfaq Nadeem saying orders had been passed down the ranks to "observe the ceasefire strictly and exercise restraint".

Late Wednesday night, Pakistani foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar offered talks to reinforce the ceasefire, PTI reported.

Indicating that tensions that had built up after the brutal killing of two Indian soldiers by the Pakistani army were likely to cool, the two armies agreed that the situation should not be escalated.

"The Pakistani side confirmed that orders have been passed to troops to observe the ceasefire strictly. An understanding was reached not to allow the situation to escalate," an Indian Army spokesperson said, adding that the two officials spoke for about 10 minutes.

The two armies exchanged fire in the Mendhar sector on Tuesday evening, during which a Pak soldier was killed. Maj Gen Nadeem raised the killing during talks with Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia Wednesday, but was learnt to have been told that the Indian side had declared that it would retaliate to any provocation.

"They complained about their casualty and we told them that while we had been exercising restraint in the past, we have been forced to give a response due to continuing violations of the ceasefire from Pakistan," an Army officer said.

While both sides put their point of view across during the short conversation, officials said the general understanding after the talks was not to allow the situation to escalate. "Things are cooling down a bit but we have to remain watchful," the officer said.

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