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Pakistan, India Agree To Restore Truce In Kashmir

Indian border guards patrol on a footbridge built over a stream near the Line of Control (LoC), a cease-fire boundary that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan. (file photo)

The Pakistani and Indian militaries say they have agreed to deescalate tensions along the Line of Control (LoC) that divides the disputed region of Kashmir, where exchanges of fire between the two neighbors have killed dozens of civilians and soldiers since the beginning of the year.

The understanding was reached during a special hotline contact involving the director-generals of military operations, the two armies said in almost identical statements late on May 29 -- in what Pakistan's Dawn newspaper described as an "unprecedented" move.

In their statement, the Pakistani and Indian armies said both sides agreed to fully implement the 2003 truce agreement between the nuclear-armed rivals "in letter and spirit forthwith and to ensure that henceforth the cease-fire will not be violated by both sides."

The Himalayan region of Kashmir has been divided between Hindu-majority India and Muslim Pakistan since the end of British rule in 1947. Both claim the region in its entirety and have fought two wars over it.

The two neighbors regularly accuse one another of violating the 2003 cease-fire accord, with cross-border fire frequently resulting in the deaths of civilians and soldiers on both sides.

Fighting along the LoC and elsewhere has left 28 Pakistani civilians dead over the past five months, according to Dawn.

A number of Pakistani soldiers were also killed, but the military has not yet released the casualty figure.

Based on reporting by AP and Dawn