The Pakistani Director General of Military Operations (DGMO), Major General Sahir Shamshad Mirza, called his Indian counterpart Lieutenant General Anil Chauhan over hotline on 29 May 2018 evening to initiate “sincere measures” to improve the border situation and spare civilians hardships. The Indian DGMO agreed to the proposal to “fully implement the ceasefire understanding of 2003 in letter and spirit and to ensure that henceforth the ceasefire will not be violated by both sides,” as mentioned in a statement issued by the Army. Both DGsMO agreed that the two armies would exercise restraint and that border issues would be resolved through existing mechanisms such as hotline contact and flag meetings at the level of local commanders. Pakistan’s Inter Services Public Relations also issued a similar statement.
The Pakistani DGMO had spoken to Gen. Chauhan on April 27, 2018, to complain against “unprovoked firing and calibre escalation” (meaning firing of mortar bombs also) along the LoC by Indian forces. Chauhan responded by saying Indian forces had only carried out retaliatory firing. Pakistan has violated the ceasefire along the LoC and the international border close to 1,100 times in barely first five months of 2018 itself resulting in the death of over 35 people. Over 100,000 Indian civilians in villages along the IB and LoC were displaced owing to their having to flee to safer places. Indian Army has clearly stated that the onus of de-escalation along the LoC rests with Pakistan Army to stop supporting terrorists and end to unprovoked ceasefire violations to abet infiltration.
While basically India’s stand has been that talks and terror cannot go together, cricket got banned, some Pakistani actors acting in Bollywood films were banished, talks by India’s DGMO and Border Security Force and their Pakistani counterparts have been held in the past. The results of such earlier talks were that neither Pak army/ISI, nor its border rangers honoured any of the commitments/agreements made.
Authorities in Rajouri district of Jammu and Kashmir have initiated the process of constructing over 5,500 underground bunkers and 200 community halls as well as ‘border
bhawans’ to help border dwellers facing the brunt of Pakistani shelling and firing. The project, to be completed in the current financial year at a cost of Rs 153.60 crore, has already been approved by the state government and Union Ministry of Home Affairs. In December 2017, the Centre announced construction of 14,460 individual and community bunkers at a cost of Rs. 415.73 crore for people living along the LoC and IB in Jammu region as a step to ensure their safety in the wake of frequent cross-border shelling. Every family residing in 0-3 km range from LoC would be provided an individual family bunker during Phase-I of the project while community bunkers and halls will be strictly constructed near schools, hospitals, police stations, police posts, government buildings and panchayat ghars for safe accommodation and better utilisation during peace time.
Objecting to the very term , “ceasefire” by Mehbooba Mufti, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav asserted that security forces would end their operations in the Valley if “terrorism stops….We shouldn’t be using terms like ceasefire etc in this situation. If by ceasefire, one meant ceasing of operations by forces in the valley during Ramzan, what is expected is that during Ramzan terrorists will abstain from terrorist activities… If terrorism stops operations will automatically stop. Forces are duty bound to save people. We are open for talks but as far as terrorism is concerned it is our duty to deal with it with an iron hand.”
Mehbooba’s appeal coming after even school children and tourists were targeted and killed by radicalised stone-pelting mobs incited by Kashmiri separatists/traitors is nothing short of ridiculous.