NEW DELHI: India and Pakistan today agreed to jointly resolve sensitive issues like ceasefire violations and cross-border infiltration through timely exchange of information, including via email and over the telephone.
At the conclusion of bilateral DG-level border talks here, the two sides also inked some new CBMs and signed a joint record of discussions which emphasised the need to ensure security and well-being of their border populations. The two sides, sources said, also agreed to stop ceasefire violations along the International Border (IB) "through enhanced communication via multiple modes at all possible levels".
The chiefs of the Border Security Force and Pakistan Rangers had led the dialogue and both sides maintained that it was held in a very cordial and smooth manner and all the issues concerning the two countries along the Indo-Pak border were taken up and addressed. The two border guarding forces decided to initiate new Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) through regular exchange of sporting and cultural troupes and initiation of coordinated patrolling in specific border areas.
"The Joint Record of Discussion charting a future route map for cooperation between the two border guarding forces was signed in the day. It was mutually agreed to hold the next talks in the first half of 2016 in Pakistan," a BSF statement said after its DG DK Pathak and Rangers chief Maj Gen Umar Farooq Burki signed the documents. "The talks ended on a optimistic note with both sides agreeing on constant endeavour to maintain peaceful and tranquil borders," it added.
The two sides had yesterday concluded their DG-level talks, which was extended by a day, and resolved that ensuring peace and tranquillity on the Indo-Pak border was an important goal for both countries. Sources in the Pakistan government had also spoken about the initiation of these measures and said the meeting was held in a "cordial and congenial atmosphere".
"The meeting took up specific issues of concern. Incidents of firing at the borders, smuggling of narcotics, infiltration attempts and defence construction activities were discussed. "The issue of inadvertent crossing over by border population and on how to facilitate their return on both the sides was also discussed," the statement added.
Ceasefire violations by the neighbouring country along the border in Jammu and Kashmir has remained a major irritant in the bilateral ties between India and Pakistan. Pakistani troops have already violated the ceasefire 11 times so far in September.
Pakistan had said that it does not support any illegal border crossing as a matter of policy and, despite that, both the sides agreed to work out some "additional methods to further strengthen border control".
Sources on the Indian side had said that both the forces, up to the level of Directors General, will exchange mobile numbers, email ids and fax numbers for quick and swift communication to resolve situations on a case-to-case basis. The Rangers later went to board a special BSF plane to Amritsar, where they will witness the retreat ceremony in the evening on the Indian side at Attari.
Thereafter, the BSF commanders of the Punjab frontier will formally bid farewell to the visiting delegation, which will cross over to Wagah in Pakistan.