Chief of Army Staff General Manoj Mukund Naravane on Thursday said that there have been decades of mistrust between India and Pakistan, and the country cannot reduce its alertness in Jammu and Kashmir, The Hindu reported.

Naravane was in Jammu and Kashmir to review the security situation along the Line of Control. His visit coincided with the completion of 100 days of ceasefire between India and Pakistan along the LoC, PTI reported.

“There can be no room to drop guard as far as security is concerned,” Naravane told the media. “If ceasefire violations continue, we are alert. We cannot in anyway reduce alert and preparedness [in Jammu and Kashmir].”

The Army chief added that the onus was on Pakistan to build trust with India, ANI reported. “There have been decades of mistrust between Pakistan and India and [the] situation can’t change overnight,” Naravane said. “If they [Pakistan] continue to observe ceasefire, stop and desist from pushing terrorists across India, then these steps will incrementally build up trust.”

Naravane said that the deployment of troops along the LoC could be reduced depending on the situation. “Ceasefire is in place… this is a dynamic process depending on the threat perceptions,” he was quoted as saying by Times Now. “If situation permits, then we do pull out troops from active deployments.”

The Army chief claimed that the situation in Jammu and Kashmir had improved. “There have been very few militant activities, pelting of stones,” he said according to The Hindu. “It indicates a sense of normalcy. After a long time, we have reached to the level where peace prevails.”

The India-Pakistan ceasefire agreement

On February 25, India and Pakistan had reached an agreement to stop ceasefire violations along the LoC after discussions between their director generals of military operations.

The countries said they will address each other’s “core issues and concerns which have propensity to disturb peace and lead to violence”. The announcement was welcomed by political leaders in Jammu and Kashmir.

There has been an increase in incidents of ceasefire violations along the LoC over the last few years. The Centre had told Parliament earlier in February that there were 5,133 ceasefire violations along the India-Pakistan border in 2020, which led to 46 deaths.