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March 5, 2018

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Indo-Pak Conflict Monitor has one Pak representative in advisory board

ISLAMABAD: Lieutenant General (R) Waheed Arshad, a retired three-star general in the Pakistan Army who served as the Chief of General Staff (CGS) at the General Headquarters, the most coveted posting in the Army, is the only Pakistani in the advisory board of the recently set up Indo-Pak Conflict Monitor (IPCM), based in India.

Waheed Arshad was commissioned in the Armoured Corps of Pakistan Army. The IPCM is an independent research initiative to monitor ceasefire violations, conflict patterns, and escalation dynamics between Pakistan and India.

The timing of the IPCM is more than welcome as India does not allow access to the 1965 United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) which can independently verify Line of Control (LoC) violations. Pakistan on the other hand showed more confidence when it allowed several military attaches of foreign missions based in Islamabad to visit various areas of the LoC which have recently seen escalation of violations from India.

The IPCM project began in early 2016 with a study on the ceasefire violations on the LoC. The LoC and the international border/working boundary have witnessed repeated violations of the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) agreed to by the militaries of Pakistan and India in November 2003.

While the setting up of the IPCM is certainly welcome, as the 2003 bilateral agreement on ceasefire ceases to exist, there would be more credibility in the monitoring body if there were more Pakistanis included amongst the eight members of the IPCM. The IPCM notes that violations of the ceasefire agreement of 2003 in the Jammu and Kashmir region are a significant trigger for bilateral military, political and diplomatic tensions between the two adversaries. These ceasefire violations have the potential to not just trigger a crisis but to also escalate an ongoing crisis, especially in the aftermath of terror incidents. To sustain the ceasefire is therefore as vital as it is to address the fundamental political disputes between the two countries.

The conflict monitor is the result of two years research based on extensive and painstaking field visits to the border areas on the Indian and the Pakistani sides, in-depth interviews with Indian and Pakistani military officials and diplomats, and the creation of several primary data sets to examine and explain the major causes, nature and patterns in ceasefire violations and escalation between India and Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir.

The IPCM regularly monitors ceasefire violations on the Indo-Pak border, to assess escalation dynamics and to make such data and analytical content publicly available. The database offers coverage on daily incidents of ceasefire violations and escalation since 2002.

While the project began as a 'ceasefire monitor', it has now started analysing the India-Pakistan conflict in general, providing the latest updates on each of the several outstanding conflicts between the two sides.

The IPCM offers daily news updates on ceasefire violations on the LoC; regularly updated datasheets and statistics on ceasefire violations; monthly statistical analysis and summaries of CFVs and escalation; periodic analytical reports and assessments on ceasefire violations and escalation dynamics between India and Pakistan as well as policy prescriptions; relevant maps and graphical representation of datasets; brief explainers on the various Indo-Pak conflicts and crises; chronology and state of play of India-Pakistan confidence building measures; reports from the extensive field visits that the project team has carried out to the border on the Indian and the Pakistani sides; podcasts of interviews and interactions with military officers and diplomats from India and Pakistan; important documents such as treaties, conventions, bilateral agreements, parliamentary records, official statements and press briefings; related publications and research content; links to important government websites, related databases and online digital media portals, social media pages, etc.

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