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Friday, 11 September 2015

From Today's Papers - 11 Sep 2015

Pak under pressure to end border firing: BSF
Consensus on better communication
Shaurya Karanbir Gurung

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, September 10
The Border Security Force (BSF) today claimed that Pakistan was under pressure to end cross-border firing along the International Border in Jammu and Kashmir. The BSF is tasked with securing the 198-km International Border (IB) in J&K. 

The Director General-level meeting between the BSF and the Pakistan Rangers commenced here today. A senior BSF officer, who was part of the 23-member Indian delegation, said: “They (Pakistan Rangers) are under pressure to maintain peace. They also got a thrashing during the cross-border firing incidents. And now the ultimate objective of both sides is to maintain peace on the border”.

The meeting, held in a cordial atmosphere, was pragmatic and forward-looking. India claimed there had been more than 250 cross border firing incidents along the IB. Pakistan agreed to control the firing, said sources privy to today’s discussion. There has been no cross-border firing at the IB for the past two days.

Both the forces also agreed on strengthening the levels of communication between them to reduce confusion and prevent cross-border firing. The details on better forms of communication are being worked out and the two sides will discuss it on Friday.

Currently, the channels of communication between the two forces is over the telephone — the staff officer of the Director General, BSF, and staff officers of the DGs of the Pakistan Rangers are in contact with each other  — and periodic meetings between the local commanders of the two forces. Flag meetings are also held after a flag is shown to the other side, but this cannot happen at night due to the fear of being shot at. 

“Communication levels also go down during cross-border firing incidents,” said the sources.

The BSF also raised the issue of infiltration during the meeting. India had flagged the Dinanagar terrorist attack in which three civilians and four policemen were killed. The three terrorists, who were killed by the Punjab police, had reportedly infiltrated into India through the IB, although the BSF has not been able to ascertain the route of their entry.

The issue of inadvertent crossers was also raised during the meeting. “Most of the inadvertent crossers come from their side. There have also been some cases from our side. We will make a better mechanism of immediately handing over such people and discuss this tomorrow,” said the officer.

On improving cooperation, the BSF proposed confidence-building measures such as inter-force sport. The issue of coordinated patrolling was also discussed, but not at the IB in Jammu. Other issues that were discussed are smuggling activities, construction and maintenance of defence structures along the border.

The Pakistan delegation will leave after signing of the Joint Record of Discussion between the two forces on September 12.
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