In a major development in their chequered relationship, India and Pakistan have agreed to strictly observe all bilateral agreements and understandings and cease firing along the Line of Control (LoC) with effect from the midnight of 24/25 February.

“In the interest of achieving mutually beneficial and sustainable peace along the borders, the two DGMOs (Directors General of Military Operations) agreed to address each other’s core issues and concerns which have propensity to disturb peace and lead to violence,” said a joint statement issued by the two sides today.

It said the DGMOs of the two sides reviewed the situation along the LoC and all other sectors in a free, frank and cordial atmosphere. Both sides reiterated that existing mechanisms of hotline contact and border flag meetings would be utilised to resolve any unforeseen situation or misunderstanding.

The joint statement is being considered an attempt by both nations to adhere to the ceasefire agreement that was reached between them in 2003.

Despite the hostility in the bilateral relationship from time to time, the two countries have maintained contact at the DGMOs level over the hotline since 1987.

In the last few years, ceasefire violations between the two countries have increased considerably, leading to heightened tensions and a large number of casualties on both sides.

Pakistan escalated the situation after India stripped Jammu and Kashmir of its special status in August 2019. In December, data from security agencies showed Pakistan violated ceasefire across the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir 5,100 times, highest in 18 years.

The violations claimed 36 lives and injured over 130. The joint statement, which could bring down the temperatures between the two nuclear-armed neighbours, came two days after India permitted Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to use Indian air space while travelling to Sri Lanka.

Yesterday, Chief of Army Staff, Gen M M Naravane had expressed confidence that with continued engagement with Pakistan, there could be some sort of an understanding.

Pakistan Army chief, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa had also recently called for resolving the Jammu and Kashmir issue in a “dignified and peaceful” manner.