NEW DELHI: As part of efforts to bring peace on the border, India and Pakistan today decided to put a complete ban on firing of mortar shells along International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir which has claimed the lives of several civilians and damaged their houses.
The two sides also agreed to jointly resolve sensitive issues like ceasefire violations and cross-border infiltration through timely exchange of information, including via email and over telephone.
At the conclusion of the three-day DG-level talks between Border Security Force and Pak Rangers here, the two sides inked a 20-point joint record of discussion to follow in the future.
BSF Director General Devendra Kumar Pathak and Pak Rangers DG (Punjab) Maj Gen Umar Farooq Burki signed the official record of talks this afternoon at the headquarters of BSF here after wrapping up their talks that took place almost after a break of two years as relations between the two countries came under strain due to a host of issues on the border.
"The two sides have decided that they will not resort to mortar fire along IB in times of peace. At the same time, it was agreed that the two forces will not use heavy weapons and these sort of weaponry and ammunition will only be used as a last resort," sources said.
They said the two sides discussed that the images of civilians and border population flashing the shiny metal fins of fired mortar shells was a very tragic sight and hence this sort of firing or retaliation should be immediately put to an end.
Mortar is an artillery which fires heavy-damage explosive shells.
The outcome of the talks, which both the sides said were held in a "cordial and constructive atmosphere", also endorsed a Confidence Building Measure (CBM) that in case either side notices suspect movement along IB, they will fire precautionary illumination shots to alert the counterpart that the forthcoming fire is aimed at the intruder and not at them.
"Both sides have pledged to honour the written committments made during these talks. The two forces expressed belief that these words will be honoured in the times to come," they said.
However, Pakistan has put on hold for the time being two other CBMs of cultural and sporting activities exchanges as proposed by BSF.
"Pakistan said it could be implemented after some time is given to the primary decisions taken of ending ceasefire violations and development of mutual trust. They have assured that these two CBMs would be activated before a BSF delegation travels to Pakistan by the middle of next year," they said.