The Line of Control (LOC) – Facts And History

 

The Line of Control (LoC) is a de facto border that separates the Indian-administered Kashmir region from the Pakistan-administered Kashmir region. It is approximately 740 km long and runs through rugged terrain, including mountains, rivers, and forests. The LoC was established as a result of the 1972 Simla Agreement between India and Pakistan, which was signed after the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.

The LoC is heavily militarized and patrolled by troops from both India and Pakistan. It is one of the most volatile and heavily contested borders in the world. The LoC is the site of frequent skirmishes, cross-border firing, and ceasefire violations between the two sides. Both India and Pakistan claim sovereignty over the entire region of Kashmir, and the LoC is seen as a temporary arrangement until a permanent solution to the Kashmir dispute is reached.

The LoC is not a formally demarcated boundary, but rather an informal arrangement between the two sides. It runs through a highly sensitive and contested region, with both sides claiming ownership over the entire territory. The LoC is marked by fencing, watchtowers, and other fortifications, and it is patrolled by troops from both sides.

The LoC is divided into three sectors: Northern, Central, and Southern. The Northern Sector includes the districts of Kupwara, Baramulla, and Bandipora in the Indian-administered Kashmir region and the districts of Neelum, Muzaffarabad, and Bagh in the Pakistan-administered Kashmir region. The Central Sector includes the districts of Srinagar, Budgam, and Ganderbal in the Indian-administered Kashmir region and the districts of Kotli and Mirpur in the Pakistan-administered Kashmir region. The Southern Sector includes the districts of Poonch and Rajouri in the Indian-administered Kashmir region and the districts of Bhimber and Jhelum Valley in the Pakistan-administered Kashmir region.

The LoC is heavily fortified on both sides, with troops stationed at strategic locations and fortified positions. There are also a large number of landmines and other explosive devices planted along the LoC to deter infiltration and protect military positions. The LoC is also heavily patrolled by both sides, with regular patrols and surveillance missions conducted to monitor activity on the other side.

The LoC is not just a physical border, but also a psychological one. It has divided families, communities, and cultures, and has created a sense of mistrust and suspicion between the two sides. There are frequent reports of human rights violations on both sides of the LoC, including extrajudicial killings, torture, and arbitrary detentions.

In recent years, there has been a surge in cross-border firing and ceasefire violations along the LoC, leading to the loss of lives and property on both sides. The two sides have also accused each other of sponsoring terrorism and insurgency in the region, further complicating the situation.

Despite the volatile and contentious nature of the LoC, there have been efforts to promote peace and reconciliation in the region. The 2003 ceasefire agreement between India and Pakistan has held for the most part, and there have been several rounds of talks between the two sides to resolve the Kashmir dispute. However, a lasting solution to the conflict has remained elusive, and the LoC remains one of the most heavily militarized and contested borders in the world.

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