Ceasefires – implementation and implications

India and Pakistan announced in feb-2021 that their armed forces would cease firing across their shared border, the first such step since 2003 and a potentially significant move toward reducing tensions between the two rivals.

2003 ceasefire is an unwritten agreement which brought peace along the LOC for almost 3 years till 2006.

Events leading to Ceasefire:

  1. Pakistan Army Chie in Feb-2021 calls for Peaceful resolution of Kashmir issue.
  2. Pakistan supported Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s five proposals for collaboration at the South Asian level on containing COVID-19.
  3. In comparison to the airspace denial that both countries had imposed on each other during and in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror strike, India this week allowed the aircraft carrying Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan a clear passage to Sri Lanka.

Possible reasons for the ceasefire now:

  1. India wanted to buy time so it could fast-track its plans to change the demography of Kashmir and at some point make the issue a closed chapter.
  2. India had realised it was stuck in Kashmir after its August 5, 2019 decision to scrap Article 370 and therefore needed to tone down its belligerence in order to find a way out by engaging with Pakistan via some quid pro quo.
  3. Due to border clashes with China there are two fronts which India will be fighting. To prevent dual front clashes having to face both China and India at the same time.
  4. Pakistan’s economy is weakening and it needed its resource to be spent on spurring the economy.

India can use the ceasefire to beef up its security grid, strengthen its bunkers, and fix some of the gaps in the fence straddling of the LoC. And while doing this, it can also earn some brownie points from the international community.

It signals the flip-flop approach that has forever dogged India’s Pakistan policy. The Pakistanis are convinced that India just doesn’t have the staying power to maintain a hostile posture for any length of time, and sooner rather than later, Pakistan will be able to get India on the dialogue table.