Antonio Guterres
Antonio Guterres

United Nations / New Delhi

Top UN leadership has welcomed the announcement by militaries of India and Pakistan to strictly observe all agreements on ceasefire alo­ng the LoC in J&K Kashmir and other sectors, with UN chief Antonio Guterres expressing hope this "positive step" will provide an opportunity for "further dialogue".

"The Secretary-General is encouraged by the joint statement issued by the militaries of India and Pakistan on their agreement to observing the ceasefire at the Line of Control in Kashmir and engaging through established mechanisms," Stephane Dujarric, Spokesman for the UN chief, said at the daily press briefing on Thursday.

"He hopes this positive step will provide an opportunity for further dialogue," Dujarric said.

President of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly Volkan Bozkir tweeted he "wholeheartedly" welcomes the ceasefire agreement between India and Pakistan. "Their stated commitment to achieve sustainable peace through addressing each other's core issues and concerns sets an example for other countries and demonstrates #UNGA values," he said.

Experts laud pact, caution cross-border terror needs to be watched

The announcement is a welcome move as any measure that saves lives on the border and reduces violence must be given a chance, experts said on Friday, but cautioned cross-border terrorism needs to be closely watched.

Lt Gen (retd) Satish Dua, who was the Corps Commander of the Srinagar based XV Corps when the Indian Army undertook surgical strikes post the Uri attack in 2016, said the ceasefire is a welcome step and more importantly, a joint statement on it is "rare".

He said the agreement comes at the time of commencement of summer when there is a rise in infiltration bids and Ceasefire Violations (CFVs).

"Every year in the onset of summer, the infiltration and the firing (CFVs) pick up more. As we are heading towards that summer, it is also a good thing that before the firing starts off, may be it can be capped in this manner. It will be a good thing," he said.

Dua added the latest ceasefire agreement has to be seen from the context of three aspects. "There was almost a breakdown of communications in a meaningful way. In that regard, the DGMO (Director Generals) level talk is meant for the management of LoC so that we do not escalate where we can sort out things or sometimes there are issues related to civilians who live across the LoC so they don't suffer," Dua said.

Lt Gen (retd) DS Hooda said one should "wait and watch" on how things pan out. Hooda was the Army's Northern Commander when the surgical strikes took place. "A lot depends on what they (Pakistan) do at the border. If they continue to push terrorists, then obviously the ceasefire agreement will not last," Hooda said. The US also welcomed the agreement, saying it is a positive step towards greater peace and stability in South Asia.

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