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India, Pakistan key army commanders meet - after 14 years

Attari/Wagah, Dec 24 : Meeting after 14 years, key army commanders of India and Pakistan Tuesday resolved to ensure ceasefire on the Line of Control (LoC) and decided to hold meetings between brigade commanders in the near future.


The meeting between the Directors General of Military Operations (DGMOs) of India and Pakistan in Wagah on the Pakistani side was described as "fruitful" by India's DGMO, Lt. Gen. Vinod Bhatia.

DGMO-level talks were held after 14 years. The last time the key army commanders met was in July 1999 after the Kargil war. The two DGMOs usually talk on the hotline every Tuesday.

According to a joint statement, the two sides also decided to inform each other if any innocent civilian inadvertently crossed the LoC to ensure his or her early return to his country.

"To carry forward the positive spirit of DGMO meeting, two flag meetings between brigade commanders will be held on the LoC in the near future to ensure maintenance of peace and tranquillity," the joint statement said.

Talking to media after returning from Wagah in Pakistan where he met his Pakistani counterpart Maj. Gen. Amir Riaz, Lt.Gen. Bhatia said the meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere.

"Both sides discussed the ceasefire on the LoC and the existing mechanism. It has been decided to ensure ceasefire," the general said after the two-hour meeting.

Bhatia led a five-member delegation to Pakistan for the talks. He was received by Gen. Riaz and other senior officers.

A brigadier and three lieutenant colonels from each side were also present at the meeting.

Pakistan's Inter-Service Public Relations (ISPR) said that the decision to hold the meeting between the Pakistan and Indian DGMOs was taken on political level.

The DGMO of Pakistan invited his Indian counterpart for a meeting to strengthen the mechanisms for ensuring a ceasefire along the LoC and the proposal was accepted by India.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Pakistani premier Nawaz Sharif at their meeting Sep 29 on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session in New York decided on the DGMO meeting in view of the frequent violations of ceasefire along the LoC. The two sides agreed on the ceasefire in November 2003.

The LoC has seen several ceasefire violations and violent incidents in recent months. Five Indian soldiers were killed in an attack in August, leading to tension along the LoC.

--IANS (Posted on 24-12-2013)

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