Restore the ceasefire
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As the most powerful and cohesive power in the region, India needs to chart a road map to restore the ceasefire (In warfare, an agreed end to hostilities (war) for a specific purpose) on the Line of Control. The brutal (harsh ; crude) killing of three Indian soldiers, one of them beheaded (to remove the head) , in the Machhil sector in Jammu and Kashmir must alert both India and Pakistan to the danger of the retaliatory (punishing) cycle spinning out of control. After decades of hostilities, the formal ceasefire of November 2003 had come as a big boost to peace at a time when India was grappling (to seize something and hold it firmly) with militancy, state-sponsored terrorism and political disaffection.
Starting that winter, the guns fell silent along the International Boundary and the LoC, thousands of residents of border villages on both sides returned to their farms, and India was able to complete its fence (a guard) along the LoC. Militancy in J&K declined significantly, and normalcy gradually returned to the Valley. It is a matter of debate if the ceasefire was a contributing factor in the reduction in militancy in Kashmir, but cover fire provided by Pakistani military posts along the border had been regularly used by militants to sneak (a cheat ) into India. This is reportedly how the terrorists who killed Indian soldiers on Tuesday managed to get across the LoC.
It is clear now that the ongoing, almost daily, exchange of fire has rendered the ceasefire meaningless. Ever since the terrorist attack on an Army camp in Uri in September, tensions have bubbled over. Ceasefire violations have become routine, and thousands of villagers have shifted to safer locations. Small arms, light machine guns, various kinds of mortars and artillery (an army unit that uses such weapons) are being used by both sides. In the fog of hostilities, it is not easy to distinguish who is the guilty, and who started the firing. What is clear is that this race to the bottom could get out of hand. Contributing to the uncertainty is the power struggle in Pakistan, with the civilian government of Nawaz Sharif trying to hold its own vis-à-vis (in relation to ; compared with) the army.
The expected exit of Army chief Raheel Sharif may add to the confusion, as the new chief settles in. However, in New Delhi, the picture is far clearer. Given India’s regional status and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s unchallenged hold over political power, it is incumbent (lying ; resting) on him to initiate steps to restore the ceasefire that worked well for over a decade. It is not only that peace is an absolute requisite (necessary) for his government’s grand economic plans, including demonetisation (to withdraw he status of legal tender from a coin (etc) and remove it from circulation) , to work; India and Pakistan must guard against adventurism in an increasingly unpredictable world.