The ceasefire agreement announced by India and Pakistan is a welcome move as any measure that saves lives on the border and reduces violence must be given a chance, experts said on Friday, but cautioned that cross-border terrorism needs to be closely watched.
A joint statement issued in Islamabad and New Delhi said the Director Generals of Military Operations of the two countries held discussions over the established mechanism of hotline contact and reviewed the situation along the LoC and all other sectors in a "free, frank and cordial" atmosphere. The agreement came into effect from the midnight of February 24/25.
Lt. Gen. (retd) Satish Dua, who was the Corps Commander of the Srinagar based XV Corps when the Indian Army undertook surgical strikes post the Uri attack in 2016, said the ceasefire is a welcome step and more importantly, a joint statement on it is "rare".
He said the agreement comes at the time of commencement of summer when there is a rise in infiltration bids and CFVs.
"Every year in the onset of the summer, the infiltration and the firing (CFVs) pick up more. As we are heading towards that summer, it is also a good thing that before the firing starts off, may be it can be capped it in this manner. It will be a good thing," he said.
Dua said the latest ceasefire agreement has to be seen from the context of three aspects.
One is the situation post August 2019 when the special provisions for the state under Article 370 were abrogated and there was a rise in CFVs.
Second, diplomatic relations were hit after the withdrawal of the High Commissioners from both the countries. And third is the India's stance that there would be no talks till Pakistan stops supporting terrorism.
"There was almost a breakdown of communications in a meaningful way. In that regard, the DGMO (Director Generals) level talk is meant for the management of LoC so that we do not escalate where we can sort out things or sometimes there are issues related to civilians who live across the LoC so they don't suffer," Dua said.
Lt. Gen. (retd) D S Hooda said one should "wait and watch" on how things pan out. Hooda was the Army's Northern Commander when the surgical strikes took place.
"A lot depends on what they (Pakistan) do at the border. If they continue to push terrorists, then obviously the ceasefire agreement will not last," Hooda said.
He, however, noted that the agreement is something which must have been sanctioned at the highest level from both sides.
He added that the agreement should also be seen from the perspective of regional and global factors.
At the global level, Pakistan's attempts to raise the Kashmir issue at different fora have not yielded expected results and their ties with Saudi Arabia and UAE have also soured. To add to it, the economy is also not in good shape, Hooda said.
At the regional level, Pakistan's attempts to create unrest in Kashmir post August 2019 have also not been successful. Even during the stand-off with China in eastern Ladakh, the Indian forces stood strong and did not back down.
"All these aspects played a role," Hooda added.
The United States has also welcomed the agreement, saying it is a positive step towards greater peace and stability in South Asia. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki also said at her daily news conference on Thursday that the Biden administration remains closely engaged with a range of leaders and officials in the region, including those in Pakistan.
Strategic affairs experts Brahma Chellaney said India's "meandering approach" assumes its two regional foes will emulate what it does well - jettison beliefs and policies overnight.
"What explains India's overtures to Pakistan, from permitting Imran Khan's flight to the joint statement? Indian press is saying "more steps" likely. India's meandering approach assumes its two regional foes will emulate what it does well – jettison beliefs and policies overnight," he said on Twitter."While still coddling its terrorist proxies, Pakistan wants better ties with India as part of its efforts to relieve international pressure and reset ties with US. It must be pleased the state department yesterday called it "an important partner" with whom we share many interests," Chellaney tweeted.