Ceasefire Breach Shadow Looms Large over Border Talks

Hours before the dialogue, Pakistani troops resorted to heavy shelling in Bhimber Gali Sector in Poonch district.

Published: 11th September 2015 05:18 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th September 2015 08:36 AM   |  A+A-

Ceasefire

Pakistan Rangers Director General (Punjab) Maj Gen Umar Farooq Burki receiving a bouquet from a BSF official on his arrival at the BSF headquarters, in New Delhi on Thursday |PTI

NEW DELHI:Ceasefire violation by Pakistan on the day the chiefs of the two neighbouring countries’ border guarding forces began talks to address several key and contentious issues is likely to overshadow the discussion.

According to sources, just hours before the dialogue, Pakistani troops resorted to heavy shelling in Bhimber Gali Sector in Poonch district. On Thursday evening shelling started in KG sector in which a Jawan was injured.

A senior BSF official told Express that on the first day they had cordial discussions with the 16-member Pakistani delegation led by Major General Umar Farooq Burki. He maintained that issues that were raised on the first day with his Pakistani counterpart were positive.

“We are likely to discuss modalities tomorrow,” the official said.

Apart from continuous ceasefire violation by Pakistan, both the sides are likely to take up the issue related to construction and maintenance of defence related structures along the International border. The BSF official said both the sides agreed on certain confidence building measures including clearance of Sarkanda (thick bushes) on zero line for clear view.

“A proposal for the immediate flag meeting in case of firing is also on the cards. Coordinated patrolling along the border from Jammu to Rann of Kucthh can happen. Cases and procedure related to inadvertent crossover in territories on both sides will also be discussed for fine tuning the existing process and arrangements of sending them back,” the BSF official further added.

India and Pakistan are also putting in efforts to communicate at different levels. Sources indicated that border guarding forces may devise various layers of communications to increase field-level meetings to reduce tensions along the border. This is the first security related discussion between the two countries after the cancellation of NSA-level dialogue last month.

The meeting between the DGs of border guards took place as per an agreement between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistan counterpart Nawaz Sharif in Ufa in July and despite the cancellation of the NSA talks last month. Such a meeting is being held after a gap of 21 months.

During the talks, both sides agreed that it would serve no purpose if talks hovered about the past and rather focus should be on future and devising mechanism to prevent any escalation of tension along the border. “The most significant takeaway of the talks has been that the two sides agreed that maintenance of peace and tranquillity on this border is the most important issue and this needs to be implemented on the ground,” officials said.

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