Ceasefire violations along India-Pakistan border touch new high this year

TEHRAN, Aug. 10 (MNA) – In a latest case of ceasefire violation, the Pakistani border rangers allegedly fired on Indian Army posts along the border in Jammu and Kashmir's Gurez sector on Monday night, leaving at least four Indian soldiers dead, according to reports in Indian media.

It comes just few days before the Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek Insaaf (PTI) assumes power in Islamabad. In his victory speech, Khan had expressed his desire to improve ties with India and resolve the dispute over Kashmir.

But the latest incident is likely to cast a shadow over the relations between the two estranged neighbors once again, say analysts. However, it remains to be seen how the Indian side retaliates this time.

This is not the first time India and Pakistan have been embroiled in border skirmishes and military confrontation. The ties between the two nuclear-armed neighbors have worsened in recent years with the intermittent exchange of small-arms and mortar fire along the border. The ceasefire accord the two countries signed in 2003 has been repeatedly violated by the two sides.

Several villages are situated along the border in the disputed Kashmir region, some of them in close proximity of the fencing. According to India’s Home Ministry, almost 600 villages are situated within five kilometers of the international border on the Indian side, and about 450 are prone to cross-border attacks.

According to conservative estimates, more than two thousand such violations have taken place since 2011 alone, which have often sparked political, diplomatic and military tensions between them.

According to government data released last week, this year has already seen more ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC), which divides the two countries, than whole of last year.

Subhash Bhamre, India’s deputy minister for defence, informed the Indian parliament last week that there have been 942 ceasefire violations along the LoC this year until July 23. In all of 2017, there had been 860 violations.

The international border has been similarly violent, with 490 instances of cross-border firing until June this year, compared to 111 last year. The data also shows increase in the number of civilians who died because of ceasefire violations and cross-border firing incidents.

Following the border skirmishes, New Delhi and Islamabad have often indulged in accusations and counter-accusations and summoning each other's envoys.

Security and strategic affairs experts believe both parties are equally responsible for frequent border flare-ups, putting lives of people living along the border at greater risk. Both sides, they say, have failed to holistically weigh the causes and consequences of recurring ceasefire violations and failed to take steps in order to prevent them.

MNA/TT

News Code 136593

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