The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This Page
Talks to keep peace on course

New Delhi, Jan. 24: The commanding officers of the Indian and Pakistani battalions who are eyeball to eyeball on a 'live' sector of the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir met at a post last evening to 'sort out differences' amid allegations that the ceasefire has been violated.

'The commanding officers met at Mendhar. The meeting was arranged at the level of the directors-general of military operations. The Pakistani officer was told that there were ceasefire violations by Pakistan on January 18 and January 20,' said Maj. Gen. Deepak Summanwar, speaking for the army headquarters.

It is rare, though not unprecedented, for commanding officers of the two battalions to meet on the LoC for flag meetings to 'sort out a misunderstanding'. And when there is firing and shelling, it is not a minor achievement for doves in the security establishment on either side of the border to take such a confidence-building measure (CBM).

This is in consonance with the spirit of the CBMs proposed by the Manmohan Singh government. In essence, the peace brigade in the Indian security establishment is seeking to convert a threat of conflict ' that is probable with allegations and counter-allegations of ceasefire violations ' into an opportunity for peace.

On the international boundary, officers of the Border Security Force and its counterpart, the Pakistan Rangers, are known to hold flag meetings on mutually agreed spots regularly.

The news that battalion commanders have met on the LoC comes even as Islamabad alleged today that Indian troops had violated the ceasefire on Friday by opening small arms fire. Maj. Gen. Summanwar denied the charge.

The spokesman for the ministry of external affairs, Navtej Sarna, said: 'We investigated it (the allegation) and found the report to be baseless. This was conveyed to Pakistan.'

There is no definite version of events yet on who fired at whom and why. Army sources do not rule out the possibility that militants gained access to weapons such as 82mm mortars that are used by Pakistani forces.

Email This Page