SRINAGAR: Officials of the Indian and Pakistani border guards held a sector commander-level Flag Meeting along the International Border (IB) in Suchetgarh sector of Jammu and Kashmir during which the BSF denounced sniper killings of its men by Pakistani Rangers and warned of tough response in case the “provocations” continue.
The meeting was held on the request of Pakistani Rangers, a BSF spokesperson said. The BSF delegation comprising 17 officers was led by DIG BSF Jammu Sector P S Dhiman, while the 14-member Pakistani Rangers delegation was led by Brig Amjad Hussain, sector commander Chenab Rangers, Sialkote. The meeting, which went on for about one-and-a-half hours, was held against the backdrop of border ceasefire violations along the IB in Jammu province in September during which a BSF jawan and a woman were killed and many other civilians and border guards injured in Pakistani troops firing and mortar shelling.
Friday’s meeting was the first flag meeting between border guards of the two countries since March this year. The spokesperson said BSF officials strongly objected to sniper killing of two BSF men by the Rangers. Constable Brijendra Bahadur was killed in sniper firing by Pakistan Rangers on September 14, while constable KK Appa Rao died in sniper firing on August 25. Both the border guards were hit by sniper fire while they were performing duty on forward points along the border fence.
“BSF officials lodged their strong protest over such provocative acts and told the Pakistani Rangers that these acts won’t be tolerated and are unacceptable. A clear message was given to the Pakistani Rangers that if such provocations continue, the BSF would respond with equal and heavy measures,” the spokesperson said. He said the BSF also strongly objected to Pakistani Rangers allowing movement of armed intruders in close vicinity of International Boundary during night time for infiltration attempts into J&K.
The BSF, he said, during cross border firing and shelling in September, foiled a number of infiltration attempts into J&K. One of the intruders was killed in Arnia sector of Jammu on September 4. According to the BSF spokesperson, the Pakistani Rangers officials assured of taking required measures to maintain peace at border. “They also requested the BSF to exercise restraint so that civilian casualties could be avoided,” he said, adding it was decided to re-energize communication between field commanders of the border guards, whenever required, to resolve the matters.