Kashmir rivals agree border ceasefire

World | REUTERS 26 Feb 2021

India and Pakistan's armies have agreed to stop firing along their disputed border in Kashmir, where gunfire has been frequent in recent months, often killing or maiming people living in the area.

"In the interest of achieving mutually beneficial and sustainable peace along the borders, the two armies agreed to address each other's core issues and concerns which have propensity to disturb peace and lead to violence," a joint statement said.

The nuclear-armed neighbors signed a ceasefire agreement along the Line of Control - the de facto border in the Kashmir region - in 2003, but the truce has been fraying in recent years.

An official in New Delhi said the cessation was partly aimed at easing the fraught situation for civilians living along the border, who are regularly caught in the crossfire.

"We are cautiously optimistic that the violence levels and tensions along the Line of Control will come down," an official said.

But India will not ease up on deployments along the Line of Control that aim to stop infiltration or counterinsurgency operations in the Kashmir valley, the official added.

Kashmir has long been a flashpoint between the neighbors, but tension was renewed after New Delhi withdrew the autonomy of the Himalayan region.

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