February 5, 2015
New Delhi and Islamabad should now begin negotiations to conclude a new ceasefire agreement instead of engaging in military one-upmanship
The conclusion of a number of significant agreements by India and the United States during President Barack Obama’s recent visit to New Delhi has attracted a great deal of adverse commentary from Islamabad. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Foreign Affairs pointsman Sartaj Aziz has voiced serious concerns about the regional “strategic imbalance” arising out of the Indo-U.S. deals at a time when Indo-Pak relations have reached a new low due to ceasefire violations along the LoC (Line of Control) and the International Border (IB). Pakistan, according to him, “is examining the imbalance and the possible ways and means for redressing it.” Strategic assessments such as these, made in the wake of the recent spate of violence along the border, could potentially lead to a renewed standoff between the South Asian adversaries. There is therefore an urgent need to put in place mechanisms to get the relationship back on track.
The India-Pakistan ceasefire agreement is dead, after having survived hundreds of ceasefire violations since its inception in 2003. It is no less than a miracle that this agreement actually lasted over 11 years despite there being absolutely no document guiding it. New Delhi and Islamabad should now begin negotiations to conclude a new ceasefire agreement instead of engaging in a “mortar-for-bullet” game of military one-upmanship and killing each other’s soldiers and hapless villagers residing astride the contested lines in Jammu and Kashmir.