Tensions at Pak-India Line of Control

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Kashmir remains a disputed territory since 1947 partition of subcontinent. In 1949, under the supervision of UNCIP, the Karachi Military Agreement was signed between the military representatives of India and Pakistan. This established the Cease-Fire Line, for the first time, in the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

It was the 1963 talks between both the states regarding Kashmir when India recognized Kashmir as disputed. But the talks lead to no settlement and were then referred to the UN by Pakistan. Until both, the states indulged again in the second war in 1965, which ended with a UN mandated ceasefire. Through Tashkent (Uzbekistan) agreement in 1966, both states resumed their bilateral relations.

But peace did not stay for long, following the Bangladesh Liberation War in 1971, Simla Agreement was signed in July 1972 between Pakistan and India. The “cease-fire line” of Dec 17, 1971 resulted in “line of control” under this agreement. Line of Control is a de facto 435 miles border in control of military, of both the states, that separates Kashmir in two; state of Jammu and Kashmir controlled by India and Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan by Pakistan. The actual Pak-India border begins from the south most point on the LoC.

Both the countries have been in three major wars, ended with a ceasefire agreement with the help of international mediation. Tensions on the LoC escalated again due to the 1980s Siachin Conflict and the Kargil War in 1999. In 2001, the tensions extended at the LoC after India accused Pakistan’s involvement in the attack on Indian Parliament. A ceasefire agreement signed in 2003, arranged by Pervez Musharaf and Indian Prime minister, A.B Vajpayee, lasted till 2007 after the series of Mumbai train bombings in 2006, India, again, suspected Pakistan and an Islamist group Lashkar-e-Taiba for these attacks.

Both countries have accused each other various times for the violations of the ceasefire. The graph below shows the number of violations alleged by the other side after 2007. Pakistani claims are seen to be higher than the Indian.

Indian claims and the recorded violations went higher after Narendra Modi joined the office in 2014. After the Uri attack in Jammu and Kashmir in 2016, Jaish-e-Mohammad was suspected for the attack and as predicted resulted in increased ceasefire violations. After the Indian claim of “surgical strikes” in September 2016, the violations reached to a new level as seen in the graph below. A drastic increase in the LoC violations in 2016 from India were seen as the aftermath of the arrest of Kulbhushan Jadhav, an Indian spy, by the Pakistani Intelligence. With this situation at the LoC, the annual meeting of SAARC that was to be held in Pakistan the same year was postponed.


The situation created by India at the LoC, if studied parallel to the diplomatic development of or with Pakistan, one may come to understand it as a propaganda generated against Pakistan to deteriorate its sustainability. Below is a chart that shows the ceasefire violations that occurred within two weeks of the bilateral meetings of both the states from 2005 to 2015.

The major factors that lead to the ceasefire violations are identified as below:

  • political factors;
  • Border mismanagement
  • local operational factors such as aggressive testing of new troops on the other side, land grab operations, and surgical strikes;
  • terrorist infiltration suspected to be backed by the other side of the border;
  • Unauthorized crossing of civilians from either side.

Other than the diplomatic and security threats in the region, the number of casualties due to the cross fire situation at the border areas project a threat to the civilians as well.  The table below is taken from the Peace works journal that shows the recorder CFVs and the related causalities from 2001-2017.

After the Pulwama chapter earlier this year, ceasefire violations rapidly increased as a military standoff was maintained at the LoC. India Today reported, “Since February 15, there have been 230 ceasefire violations at the Line of Control (LoC)”. With Modi returning to office by winning 2019 elections, more violations are expected in the coming years. Since both states have become nuclear, no warplane crossed the LoC until February 2019 when India claimed a preemptive strike by its warplane in the Balakot sector, near Pakistani northern province KPK. The next day, an Indian warplane was shot down taking the pilot in prison. Returning the Indian pilot to the authorities the very next day was this year’s first CBM from Pakistan, relaxing the situation between both the countries. The Kartarpur corridor, initiated by Pakistan, was expected to further ease the tensions of the earlier escalated conflict, but with India’s ever cold and uncertain bi-lateral CBMs, in June, almost 150 Sikh pilgrims were not allowed to leave for Lahore at the last moment though they had their visas. While one might suggest the effectiveness of CBMs, such attitude from India effects the diplomatic terms which deescalates the effect of CBMs.

As much as the CBMs have proven to be effective, the positive effect has always invited spoilers to bring down the sustaining peace. The bilateral relations and the situation at LoC are correlated to the progressiveness of both the states. But with Modi in the office, it might be hard to find peace at the LoC.  After seven decades of dispute, the countries should now begin to focus on reaching peaceful resolution for Kashmir and avoid any manifested spoilers.


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