India and Pakistan signed a treaty and maps formally settling the new line of military control on Monday (11 December).
India and Pakistan signed a treaty and maps formally settling the new line of military control on Monday (11 December). The signing took place in the border post at Suchetgarh, Kashmir, and the signatories were Lieutenant-General P.S.M. Bhagat of India and Lieutenant-General Abdul Hamid Khan of Pakistan.
The signing is seen as paving the way for further agreement on such matters as the withdrawal of troops from territory belonging to the other country, occupied during last December's hostilities.
Observers also hope the improved relations between the two actions will lead eventually to a settlement of the Kashmir dispute, which has been the cause of enmity between India and Pakistan since they gained independence 25 years ago.
SYNOPSIS: Lieutenant General Abdul Hamid Khan of Pakistan arrived at the Kashmir border post of Suchetgarh on Monday, and was greeted by Lieutenant-General Bhagat, of India.
They were both there for the signing of a pact settling the line of military control in Kashmir. The signing is, of course, important in itself, but observers also attach great significance to it as another stage in settling the differences between India and Pakistan which culminated in the brief but bloody war a year ago.
The agreement is seen as paving the way for the withdrawal of each country's troops from the sections of the other state it occupied during the hostilities. Some observers predict a steady progress including further talks on repatriating prisoners of war, the resumption of diplomatic relations, and eventually a final settlement of the Kashmir dispute, the basic reason for past hostility.
To make sure there were no mistakes, the General signed detailed maps. Technically the whole matter is still not definitely agreed. The generals were acting as envoys and both government must ratify the pact.
There is even talk of a start to withdrawing troops from occupied areas beginning as soon as next week.
Discussions on the line of control began last August. Agreement was reached and withdrawals were to have started in September, but when India insisted that the task of defining the cease-fire line should be completed before withdrawals could begin. How it's hoped the agreement will lead to the end of 25 years of enmity between the two countries.