Context:

According to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), there was a steep decline in cross-border firing by Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir till June 2021 compared to the number of ceasefire violations reported in 2020.

Relevance:

GS-II: International Relations (India’s Neighbors, Foreign Policies and Agreements affecting India’s Interests)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About MHA’s statements on ceasefire violations
  2. About 2021 agreements to observe 2003 ceasefire agreements
  3. About the 2003 Ceasefire Agreements
  4. Territorial Disputes between India and Pakistan

About MHA’s statements on ceasefire violations

  • In a written reply to questions from Lok Sabha members, the Ministry of Home Affairs said that only around 650 ceasefire violations were reported till June 2021. Previously, there were more than 2100 cases in 2018, almost 3500 cases in 2019, and over 5100 cases in 2020.
  • Following scheduled talks between the Directors General of Military Operations of India and Pakistan over hotline, a joint statement was issued on February 2021, in which both India and Pakistan agreed to the strict observance of all agreements, understandings and ceasefire along the LoC and all other sectors.
  • Several countries have issued statements welcoming the development as an important and positive step…government’s consistent position has been that India desires normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan and is committed to addressing issues, if any, bilaterally and peacefully in an atmosphere free of terror, hostility and violence.
  • In response to another query, the MHA informed the Lok Sabha that so far more than 5,000 km of the IB — including 2,000+ kms along the Pakistan border and 3,000+ kms along the Bangladesh border — had been covered by fence.

About 2021 agreements to observe 2003 ceasefire agreements

  • India and Pakistan had agreed to observe the 2003 ceasefire agreements along the Line of Control (LoC) and all other sectors, in 2021.
  • The 2021 joint statement issued by both India and Pakistan employed terms like the resolution of “core issues”, which indicated both coordination at a diplomatic level and high-level political approval.
  • The 2021 agreements came in response to over 5000 instances of Cross Fire Violations (CFVs) along the Line of Control (LoC) and other areas in Jammu and Kashmir, resulting in 46 fatal casualties in 2020.

About the 2003 Ceasefire Agreements

  • The original ceasefire agreement was reached in November 2003, four years after the Kargil War (1999).
  • The 2003 ceasefire agreement remains a milestone as it brought peace along the LoC until 2006. Between 2003 and 2006, not a single bullet was fired by the jawans of India and Pakistan.
  • But since 2006, ceasefire violations have become the norm with increasing frequency.

Territorial Disputes between India and Pakistan

Kashmir

  • Due to political differences between the two countries, the territorial claim of Kashmir has been the subject of wars in 1947, 1965 and a limited conflict in 1999 and frequent ceasefire violations and promotion of rebellion within the Indian side of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The then princely state remains an area of contention and is divided between the two countries by the Line of Control (LoC), which demarcates the ceasefire line agreed post-1947 conflict.

Siachen Glacier

  • Siachen Glacier is located in Northern Ladakh in the Karakoram Range.
  • It is the 5th largest glacier in Karakoram Range and the 2nd largest glacier in the world.
  • Most of the Siachen Glacier is disputed between India and Pakistan.
  • Before 1984, neither of the two countries had any permanent presence on the glacier.
  • Under the Shimla Agreement of 1972, the Siachen was called a barren and useless.
  • This Agreement also did not specify the boundary between India and Pakistan.
  • When India got intelligence that Pakistan was going occupy Siachen Glacier, it launched Operation Meghdoot to reach the glacier first.
  • Following the success of Operation Meghdoot, the Indian Army obtained the area at a higher altitude and Pakistan army getting a much lower altitude.
  • Thus, India has a strategic advantage in this region.
  • Following the 2003 armistice treaty between the two countries, firing and bombardment have ceased in this area, though both the sides have stationed their armies in the region.

Sir Creek

  • Sir Creek is a 96 km tidal estuary on the border of India and Pakistan. The creek, which opens up into the Arabian Sea, divides the Gujarat state of India from the Sindh province of Pakistan.
  • Sir Creek Dispute: The basic cause of the Sir Creek dispute lies in the interpretation of the maritime boundary line between Kutch and Sindh. While the disputed area of Sir Creek involves only a few square miles of land, the land border demarcation has a direct impact on the maritime boundaries of both countries, involving a few hundred square miles of the ocean territory.
  • Pakistan’s Position: Pakistan claims the entire Sir Creek, with its eastern bank defined by a “green line” and represented on a 1914 map belongs to it. Accepting Pakistan’s premise on the “green line” would mean loss of about 250 square miles of EEZ for India.
  • India’s Position: India says that the green line is an indicative line and felt the boundary should be defined by the “mid-channel” of the Creek as shown on a map dated 1925. India supports its stance by citing the Thalweg doctrine in international law. It states that river boundaries between two states may be, if the two states agree, divided by the mid- channel. Pakistan maintains that the doctrine is not applicable in this case as it most commonly applies to non-tidal rivers, and Sir Creek is a tidal estuary.

-Source: The Hindu

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