Expanding scope of Indo-Pak bilateral talks can ease LoC tensions

  • Rahul Singh, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 11, 2015 20:22 IST
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacts with Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif before a meeting in New Delhi on May 27, 2014. (Photo by Sanjeev Verma/ Hindustan Times)

Expanding the scope of talks between Indian and Pakistani generals heading the crucial military operations directorates beyond a weekly telephonic conversation brings hope of easing tensions along the volatile Line of Control (LoC).

The eventual outcome of the decision that the two director generals of military operations (DGMOs) will meet and hold structured talks, as announced in a joint statement in Ufa on Friday, will depend on whether Pakistan army is serious about honouring the ceasefire pact and
crushing terror groups.

“That will be the real test. It will reveal how much force of will Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif can impose on his generals,” a senior officer said. Pakistan's behaviour along the border will shape India's response.

Under the existing arrangement, the DGMOs speak over the hotline on Tuesdays.

The two DGMOs held a rare meeting on December 24, 2013 when India confronted Pakistan over the killing of five Indian soldiers in the Poonch sector and the beheading of an Indian jawan in the Mendhar region in the same year. There were no ceasefire violations by Pakistan for almost seven months after those talks, said the then DGMO lieutenant general Vinod Bhatia.

Bhatia told HT, “The new format of talks between the DGMOs is a brilliant step. The power play in Pakistan is different factoring in the dynamics between the military and political leadership. It is crucial for us to step up engagement with their army.”

Repeated border violations by the neighbouring army have soured bilateral ties. India has accused Pakistan of violating the November 2003 truce along the LoC more than 500 times since 2011 and the pattern of infiltration by terrorists also hasn’t changed much.

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