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Friday, December 9, 2022

Backchannel talks for months before India-Pakistan joint statement on ceasefire truce: report

Indian and Pakistani officials meet for clandestinely months before the two South Asian nuclear rivals on the ceasefire agreement between their top military commanders, The Hindustan Times reported quoting ‘people aware of the matter’.

The report said India’s National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Moeed Yusuf, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s special assistant on National Security Division and Strategic Policy Planning, ‘have been in touch directly and via interlocutors from the intelligence community’.

The joint statement is the first outcome of these conversations that included at least one face-to-face meeting in a third country, The Hindustan Times reported.

The joint statement, issued in New Delhi by India’s defence ministry, said the director generals of military operations of the two armies had agreed to “strict observance of all agreements, understandings and cease firing along the Line of Control” from Wednesday midnight.

The two top commanders also “agreed to address each other’s core issues and concerns which have a propensity to disturb the peace and lead to violence”.

The Hindustan Times report said the joint statement could be the first of the many steps that the two countries may take over the next few months to normalise relations.

Sources in India’s defence and security establishment told ThePrint that according to the understanding, both countries are pulling back specialised offensive units from the LoC starting Thursday evening.

Specialised units operate along the LoC on both sides, carrying out offensive operations against each other. The pullback means these units will move away from the forward positions at the LoC and will be re-inducted as and when necessary.

The move comes after at least three months of back-channel talks at various levels, ThePrint report said.

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