Border on the boil


India’s threat matrix now includes the possibility of a two-front situation

With a series of ceasefire violations by the Pakistan Army that targeted civilians, and heavy artillery fire by the Indian Army, the LoC is once again on the boil.

  • The government accused Pakistan of firing as a way of providing cover for terrorists infiltrating into India before the winter snow closes the passes and underground routes, and issued a démarche to Pakistan’s top diplomat in New Delhi decrying the “coordinated firing along the length of the LoC using heavy caliber weapons, including artillery and mortar, on Indian civilians” by the Pakistan Army. 
  • The present situation at the LoC cannot be normalised and must be taken seriously. 
  • Army officials now say 2020 has seen the highest levels of firing since the 2003 India-Pakistan ceasefire agreement, with a record number of 4,052 ceasefire violations by Pakistan since January. 
  • Pakistan’s intentions are to provoke India ahead of its two-year term at the UN Security Council from January 2021, as well as to rake up trouble before the Financial Action Task Force review in February.


Line of Control (LoC)

  • The LOC is a military control line between the Indian and Pakistani controlled parts of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir - a line which does not constitute a legally recognized international boundary, but serves as the de facto border. 
  • Originally known as the Cease-fire Line, it was redesignated as the Line of Control following the Simla Agreement, which was signed on 3 July 1972. 
  • The part of the former princely state that is under Indian control is divided into the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, while the Pakistani-controlled part is divided into Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit–Baltistan
  • The northernmost point of the Line of Control is known as NJ9842. The India–Pakistan border continues from the southernmost point on the LoC.
  • Another ceasefire line separates the Indian-controlled state of Jammu and Kashmir from the Chinese-controlled area known as Aksai Chin. Lying further to the east, it is known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
  • Former US President Bill Clinton has referred to the Indian subcontinent and the Kashmir Line of Control, in particular, as one of the most dangerous places in the world.
  • After the partition of India, the present day India and Pakistan contested the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir – India by virtue of the ruler's accession to the country and Pakistan by virtue of the state's Muslim majority population. 
  • The First Kashmir War lasted more than a year, when a ceasefire was accepted through the UN mediation. A ceasefire line was agreed by the two sides.
  • After another Kashmir War in 1965, and the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 (which saw Bangladesh become independent), only minor modifications had been effected in the original ceasefire line. 
  • In the ensuing Simla Agreement in 1973, the two countries agreed to convert the ceasefire line into a "Line of Control" and observe it as a de facto border that should not be violated by armed action.
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