ISLAMABAD: Leading army commanders from Pakistan and India met on Tuesday for the first time in 14 years in a bid to reduce tensions in the disputed region of Kashmir after a year of intermittent clashes.
The directors general of military operations (DGMO) from the two nuclear-armed neighbours held face-to-face talks at Wagah border post, near Lahore. The past year has seen some of the worst violence in a decade along the Line of Control (LoC), the heavily militarised frontier dividing the Himalayan region of Kashmir. The two sides agreed to make contact between the two DGMOs on their special hotline “more effective and result-oriented”, a joint statement released by the Pakistan Army after the meeting said.
The release said the atmosphere of the talks was “cordial, positive and constructive”. “It is the first (such) meeting between the senior army officials since Kargil,” senior Indian Defence Ministry spokesman Sitanshu Kar said, referring to the brief war between the two nations in divided Kashmir in 1999. The meeting comes less than a month after General Raheel Sharif took over as Pakistan’s new army chief. A deadly flare-up along the LoC in January brought a halt to peace talks that had only just resumed following a three-year hiatus sparked by the 2008 attacks in Mumbai that killed 166 people.
The Pakistan delegation was headed by Director General Military Operations Major General Aamer Riaz, while the Indian delegation was headed by Director General Military Operations Lieutenant General Vinod Bhatia. The joint statement said both DGMOs showed their commitment to maintain the sanctity and ceasefire on the Line of Control and agreed to re-energise the existing mechanisms. Consensus was developed to make hotline contact between the two DGMOs more effective and result oriented. It was also decided to inform each other if any innocent civilian inadvertently crossed the Line of Control, in order to ensure his/her early return.
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