Need to reinforce 2003 ceasefire agreement on LoC

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Jan 25: The intellectuals from India and Pakistan have unanimously underlined the need to reinforce 2003 ceasefire agreement between the two countries and recommended that new mechanisms should be devised to reduce eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation on the Line of Control (LoC).
The intellectuals drawn from various fields, who participated in the Indo-Pak Delhi Dialogue organized by the Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation and the Jinnah Institute of Pakistan at New Delhi, deliberated on key areas–bilateral relations, trade, extremism and terrorism, higher education and Jammu and Kashmir dispute.
In a joint resolution, the group consisted of retired diplomats, academicians, civil society activists, media personnel and business persons from both sides underlined the need to reinforce the 2003 ceasefire agreement in the light of recent incidents on the Line of Control.
Appreciating that 2012 was a year of progress in Indo-Pak relations during which the robustness of India-Pakistan dialogue was tested and despite challenges to the process considerable headway was made on issues of trade and visa liberations, the participants recommended that the Governments of India and Pakistan should evolve a result-oriented mechanism of dialogue. “This mechanism should include representation from both sides of LoC aimed at a mutually acceptable resolution of the Kashmir issue”, they added.
“Both the Governments should display commitment to fight terrorism and not encourage instruments of terror to take root, develop and manifest themselves in any form or manner”, they said, adding “both the Governments should initiate several levels of counter terrorism mechanisms and bilateral dialogue, which should include regular meetings between the heads of intelligence agencies, police officers and MEA-FO and media houses”.
They also recommended creation of legal frameworks to ensure that banned terrorist/extremist organizations do not re-group and restart operations. “We also emphasis that both the countries should check hate material in all forms and take necessary measures to arrest their circulation”, they added.
Demanding resumption of the suspended bus service and cross-LoC trade on Poonch-Rawalkote route and return of stranded passengers, the participants suggested an urgent review of the performance and structural feasibility of cross-LoC trade by addressing bottlenecks. “The LoC trade and travel should be decentralized by creating a single independent authority on the Indian side, existing barter trade should be converted to routine cross-border trade with sufficient checks, opening of the old Jammu-Sialkote and Kargil-Skardu trade routes and introducing smart card service on the basis of State Subject Certificates to overcome the cumbersome procedures for cross-LoC travel”, they added.
The participants also laid stress on visas for journalists without unnecessary delays, roaming cellular facilities to the people of both the countries, prioritization of culture, sports and humanitarian concerns in the bilateral parleys, fulfillment of decisions taken by Commerce Secretaries in September 2012, joint cooperation on energy projects and increased cultural activities.
On last day of the two-day dialogue, Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid met the participants and interacted with them, said Sushobha Barve of Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation.