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Pakistan offers India halt on artillery fire ‘from both sides’ in Kashmir area – reports

Pakistan offers India halt on artillery fire ‘from both sides’ in Kashmir area – reports
Islamabad has approached New Delhi suggesting that both arch-rivals stop using artillery in the contested Kashmir region, according to a media report. Pakistan has also vowed to remove special forces from the area.

The Pakistani army had made the peace offer using existing military-to-military channels, according to Hindustan Times. The offer included “moratorium on the artillery fire from both sides,” says a report sent to the Indian prime minister’s office and seen by the paper.

An Indian defense official said there were over 100 instances when shelling was recorded in the troubled state of Kashmir, but now the use of artillery “has considerably reduced.” Moratorium aside, Pakistan’s military ordered its Special Service Group (SSG) – an analogue of the American Green Berets – to withdraw from the Indian border.

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Islamabad seems to be willing to defuse tensions around Kashmir, Indian officials believe. “These are clear on-ground signals from Pakistan for de-escalation,” one such official told the newspaper.

Tensions between India and Pakistan in the Kashmir region have been running high in late February and March. It came after a high-profile terror attack on Indian forces, followed by an encounter between the country’s air forces pushed the nuclear-armed neighbors to the brink of war.

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Last week, a number of civilians and military personnel were killed as both sides exchanged heavy artillery fire, interrupting several weeks of relative calm along Kashmir’s Line of Control (LoC). Mortar shelling and small arms fire has also been taking place in the area.

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