After talks between the National Security Advisers of the two countries was called off about a fortnight ago, the Director General-level talks between the Border Security Force (BSF) and Pakistan Rangers is set to kick off in New Delhi Thursday.
A 16-member Pakistani delegation led by Rangers Director General (Punjab) Maj Gen Umar Farooq Burki was received at the Attari-Wagah border by BSF commanders of the Punjab frontier Wednesday afternoon, en route to the capital for the talks. The delegation comprised officials from the Sindh Rangers, Ministry of Interior, Survey of Pakistan, anti-narcotic force, and immigration.
The talks are going ahead against the backdrop of escalating tensions between the two countries over comments by its Army chiefs, as well as the Gurdaspur and Udhampur terror attacks. On Tuesday, ceasefire violation by Pakistani troops was again reported in Poonch district. According to intelligence sources, Pakistani troops fired from their NCPP post towards India’s forward defence line in Mandi area, with Indian troops returning fire. No casualties were reported.
Repatriation of inadvertent border crossers, defence construction in disputed land along Dhamala Nala, construction of bundh in Indian territory near Border Post No. 8 and encroachment of Indian territory are issues the BSF raised in July 2012 and wants reviewed during these talks, The Indian Express has learned.
New agenda points from the BSF team, led by its DG D K Pathak, include unprovoked firing/shelling by Pakistan Rangers on BSF posts and deliberate targeting of Indian villages, sniper firing on BSF troops by Pakistan Rangers, infiltration attempts by terrorists from Pakistan at the Jammu International Border (IB), extensive defence construction activities by Pakistan Rangers close to the IB and mutual understanding on routine maintenance of defences on the border.
Some of the other fresh agenda points from the BSF are non-clearance of sarkanda grass on the Pakistan side near the IB, violation of the sanctity of IB by Pakistan nationals, illegal intrusion by Pakistan fishing boats into Indian territory, early repatriation mechanism for inadvertent border crossers and smuggling of narcotics, counterfeit currency or ammunition from Pakistan.
Adherence to simultaneous coordinated patrolling schedule, firing along IB by civilians or Pakistan Rangers for hunting, exchange of information regarding threats to joint formations, establishing telephone communication at DG and Frontier level, and confidence building measures are some of the other issues the BSF plans to raise at the talks.