India, Pakistan ceasefire violations up at 860 in 2017: report

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New Delhi: Violations of a 2003 ceasefire pact—seen as a key confidence building measure between India and Pakistan—have seen a spike in 2017 with 860 instances being reported. The number of ceasefire violations in 2015 was 387 and in 2016 was 271, according to a news report on Tuesday.

Last year, most of the ceasefire violations took place in December with 147 instances being reported in December. There were 122 instances reported in October, 101 in September and 108 in August. January 2017 saw the least number—eight instances. In contrast, January 2018 (up to 21 January) saw a sharp spike of 134 instances, according to news reports. India has reported at least two civilian deaths in recent days, besides some security forces in firing by Pakistan.

India says that Pakistan uses the cover of fire to push in terrorists into India to keep insurgency in Kashmir on the boil—a charge Pakistan denies. The government in Islamabad, on its part, says that it merely extends moral, political and diplomatic support to the freedom struggle in Kashmir.

The ceasefire pact between the two countries in 2003 was seen as an important confidence building measure. However, in recent years, there have been a number of instances of violation of the pact. India suspended peace talks with Pakistan in 2013 after some of its soldiers were killed in two ambushes by Pakistani soldiers along the border in Kashmir. New Delhi had then stressed that the 2003 pact was an important attempt in ensuring peace along the border—a requisite for bilateral dialogue to continue.livemint