By: Deeptiman Tiwary
In the wake of NSA-level talks having failed to take off last month, the BSF-Pak Rangers director general (DG)-level talks scheduled for Wednesday is being watched closely. Sources, however, said it may achieve little beyond minor successes in routine matters such as fence maintenance and regular flag meetings.
Articulating the view on the basis of past experiences, sources in the home ministry and the BSF said though bigger issues of ceasefire violations, infiltration and smuggling were always raised, they are disputed by Pakistan and the exchange largely turns into a blame game.
“However, such meetings, when they happen regularly, do prove useful in day-to-day affairs of the forces on the border. We hope to achieve some understanding on peaceful repair of fences, return of villagers who inadvertently transgress into Pakistan and regular flag meetings,” a senior BSF officer said.
The BSF plans to raise the issue of ceasefire violations in Jammu and Kashmir, including sniper attacks, infiltration, intrusion in Rann of Kutch and smuggling with the 16-member delegation from Pakistan headed by Pakistan Rangers director general (Punjab) Maj Gen Umar Farooq Burki during the four-day meet. The Indian delegation with as many members will be led by BSF chief Devendra Kumar Pathak.
The Indian agenda for the talks has put extra stress on the “most important” issue of breach of ceasefire in J&K, which has led to loss of lives of civilians and troops, and “unprovoked” firing by the Rangers along the IB, they said.
The last such meeting between the two sides took place in 2013 when BSF DG Subhash Joshi led a delegation to Pakistan. Since then, as tension escalated on the border, no meetings have taken place. Under normal circumstances such meetings are a biannual event. The last couple of years has seen heightened hostility on the border with heavy exchange of fire and complete lack of communication between the two sides. So much so that the two sides had even stopped engaging in the symbolic exchange of sweets during festivities.
This animosity, sources said, translated into intolerance of even routine exercises on the border. The force hopes the talks will lead to an understanding which will foster cooperation on these small and harmless issues.
‘Modi wants to dictate terms for dialogue’
On the eve of talks between India’s Border Security Force and Pakistan Rangers, Pakistan’s NSA Sartaj Aziz Tuesday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants to dictate terms for dialogue with Islamabad which will never accept any parleys without Kashmir being on the agenda. “Narendra Modi contested elections an anti-Pakistan platform and now wants to dictate terms for the dialogue.. but we will never accept this,” Aziz was quoted as saying by Dawn News. ENS