The Director-General Military Operations (DGMO) of Pakistan has invited his Indian counterpart for a meeting to strengthen the mechanism to ensure ceasefire on the Line of Control. The meeting will take place on December 24, according to a statement by the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here on Tuesday.

The Inter Services Public Relations too said the Pakistan DGMO had extended an invitation to the India DGMO for a meeting on December 24. The meeting between the DGMOs was agreed to when the Prime Ministers of both countries met in New York in September on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

It was suggested as a mechanism to reduce tensions on the Line of Control (LoC), which had seen repeated violations. However, while the DGMOs speak every Tuesday, a meeting was yet to take place.

According to news reports from Washington, the U.S. had asked India to accept Pakistan’s suggestion for including Indian civilian diplomats in the proposed DGMOs meeting. However, this issue had been raised in the past and India had not accepted this suggestion. Reports also quoted India’s Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh, who went to Washington, as saying the LoC was a military issue and New Delhi did not see a diplomatic role in what was essentially a military issue. On Monday, Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony told journalists that the India Pakistan DGMOs could meet when needed and they were already talking to each other. He also said the incidents of firing on the LoC had come down though not completely, a news report said.

In October, the Foreign Office spokesperson had said Pakistan was fully committed to implementing the decision of the two Prime Ministers that the DGMOs should meet to resolve the issue of ceasefire violations along the LoC and the Working Boundary. The DGMOs were already in touch through hotline contact and they discussed issues on October 25 and 29 and agreed to normalise the situation along the LoC and the Working Boundary. A sectoral flag meeting was held between Pakistan Rangers and the Indian Border Security Force along the Working Boundary on October 29 and both sides agreed to observe ceasefire and resolve issues through local-level flag meetings.

Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar reports from New Delhi:

The Indian Army has confirmed that Director-General of Military Operations Lieutenant General Vinod Bhatia would meet his Pakistani counterpart on the Pakistan side of the Wagah border on December 24.

The Army’s confirmation came after Pakistan DGMO Major General Amir Riaz extended an invitation to the Indian official to meet him. The Army said it had accepted the Pakistan offer for DGMO talks.