Pakistan, India army meet on Kashmir

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AP

Indian policemen detain Kashmiri Supporters of Awami Ittihad Party during a protest against a fatal paramilitary shooting in the disputed territory, in Srinagar, India.

Islamabad - Leading army commanders from Pakistan and India met Tuesday for the first time in 14 years in a bid to reduce tensions in the disputed region of Kashmir after a year of intermittent clashes.

The directors general of military operations (DGMO) from both nuclear-armed neighbours held face-to-face talks at Wagah border post, near the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore.

The past year has seen some of the worst violence in a decade along the Line of Control (LoC), the heavily militarised frontier dividing the Himalayan region of Kashmir, which both countries control in part but claim in full.

The two sides agreed to make contact between the two DGMOs on their special hotline “more effective and result-oriented”, a joint statement released by the Pakistani military after the meeting said.

The release said the atmosphere of the talks was “cordial, positive and constructive”.

“It is the first (such) meeting between the senior army officials since Kargil,” senior Indian defence ministry spokesman Sitanshu Kar said, referring to the brief war between the two nations in divided Kashmir in 1999.

The meeting comes less than a month after General Raheel Sharif took over as Pakistan's new army chief.

A deadly flare-up along the LoC in January brought a halt to peace talks that had only just resumed following a three-year hiatus sparked by the 2008 attacks in Mumbai that killed 166 people.

Fresh skirmishes erupted on the LoC after five Indian soldiers were killed in a raid in August.

Delhi blamed that ambush on the Pakistan army, but Islamabad denied the claims and has repeatedly called for restraint and dialogue.

The prime ministers of both countries pledged to ensure calm in Kashmir when they held talks in New York in September, the highest-level talks between the two sides for three years.

Sapa-AFP


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