ISLAMABAD—Pakistan and India agreed to a cease-fire along their disputed border, regarded as one of the most dangerous frontiers in the world, according to a joint statement from the two countries Thursday.
The surprise cease-fire agreement was for the area along the so-called Line of Control, which marks the point at which the two armies stand off in the Kashmir region. It forms an unofficial border across which there is frequent shooting. Each side holds a part of Kashmir but claims the whole of that territory. India and Pakistan are nuclear armed, and there have been three major wars between them, as well as smaller conflicts.
The cease-fire came into effect from midnight Wednesday, according to the joint statement. It followed a conversation between senior military officers of the two countries over a hotline, in a “a free, frank and cordial atmosphere,” the statement said.
“This is a positive step forward,” said Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Pakistan’s foreign minister, speaking to a local news channel.
Each country accuses the other of unprovoked gun, mortar and artillery fire across the disputed border, with fighting escalating in recent years and killing both soldiers and civilians.
India and Pakistan came to the brink of war as recently as 2019, when India said it bombed a militant training facility in Pakistan, and Pakistan shot down an Indian fighter jet.
A formal cease-fire was declared between the two sides back in 2003, but it has been frequently violated. Between 2018 and the end of 2020, India accuses Pakistan of 10,752 incidents of firing across the Line of Control, while Pakistan accuses India of 9,486 such incidents of firing in that period, according to past statements from the two sides.
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