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India, Pakistan agree to a ceasefire

Josy Joseph in Delhi | November 25, 2003 13:45 IST
Last Updated: November 25, 2003 14:27 IST

The Director Generals of Military Operations of India and Pakistan on Friday agreed to observe a ceasefire along the International Border, Line of Control and Actual Ground Position Line in Jammu and Kashmir.

"The two agreed to observe a ceasefire with effect from midnight tonight," Ministry of External Affairs spokesman Navtej Sarna said.

The DGMOs of both the nations, he said, confirmed the ceasefire during their weekly conversation over the hotline.

Pakistan Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali had on Sunday night asked the army to cease fire along the Line of Control from Eid. He had then expressed the hope that India 'will make a positive response to our announcement because without this our step will be incomplete'.

On Monday India had welcomed the Pakistan offer but had said for a lasting ceasefire along the LoC, infiltration of terrorists must end. India had also offered ceasefire along the AGPL running from the end of LOC to Siachen glacier.

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Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmood Kasuri was quick to respond saying his country's ceasefire offer also included Siachen.

Though details of DGMOs' conversations are not available, sources indicated that

India has open the option of firing on terrorists if they infiltrate. "If terrorists come in we reserve the right to target them. The ceasefire is between the two armies," an army officer said.

There have been several intelligence warnings in the recent times about terrorists grouping across the border waiting to infiltrate into the Jammu area.

While most of the passes from Pakistan into Kashmir valley would close in the next few days because of snow, the routes in Jammu side, at much lower heights, would remain open. "We will not drop our vigil," the army officer said.

With the ceasefire the two sides would not target each other's posts and personnel.

Officials speculate the next step would be technical dialogue between the two countries for starting the new bus and rail routes as suggested by India on October 22.

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