Pakistan, India agree to lower border tensions

Rangers, BSF chiefs decide to halt cross-border firing and not to retaliate immediately to any ceasefire violations

NEW DELHI – Pakistani and Indian border forces agreed on Friday to maintain restraint along Line of Control (LoC) and Working Boundary, as they sought to defuse tensions that have been heightened in recent months by militant attacks that each side blames the other for.

The heads of India’s Border Security Force and the Pakistan Rangers met in New Delhi for a second day on Friday, to find ways to de-escalate tensions along the border as part of a series of measures agreed by the leaders of the two countries in July. The border chiefs agreed to hold back cross-border firing and not to retaliate immediately to violations of a 15-year ceasefire, an Indian interior ministry official said. “Both have decided not to immediately retaliate against firing from either side and to contact the other side to know the cause of firing,” the official said, reading from a draft text the two governments agreed.

Tens of thousands of soldiers are massed on either side of Kashmir, one of the world’s most militarised regions, and in recent months they have stepped up cross-border firing. Last month, at least nine people were killed by the firings on the day the nuclear-armed neighbours marked the 50th anniversary of a war between them.

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