Indian and Pakistani border guards are close to an agreement on coordinated patrolling of the international border from Gujarat to Punjab but not on the most volatile Jammu sector, sources told HT on Thursday.
The Border Security Force and Pakistani Rangers, however, reached an understanding on maintaining calm on the border in the Jammu sector that has witnessed almost all ceasefire violations and cross-border infiltration over the past year, a senior government official said.
The meeting of BSF and Rangers delegations led by the heads of each organisation was the first high-level interaction between the two nations after the last-minute cancellation of national security adviser-level talks last month.
“The two forces have also agreed to a host of other measures like direct lines of communication from the level of chiefs to commandants, maintenance of defence-related structures, clearing of foliage along the zero line to help stop infiltration and fine-tuning arrangements for handing back innocent people who cross the border inadvertently,” the official said, requesting anonymity.
The official said the success of Thursday’s deliberations between the BSF and Rangers could be measured from the fact that both sides decided to extend the talks for a day to finalise the modalities for the implementation of the measures agreed so far.
BSF chief DK Pathak told HT the talks were conducted in a cordial atmosphere.
“The talks happened in a subdued atmosphere. The BSF has given a very effective response to all the ceasefire violations. That must have led the Pakistani side to realise the futility of continuing ceasefire violations. Besides, they have also suffered civilian casualties,” the official said.
Both forces are looking at the possibility of organising friendly matches of team sports such as football, hockey, volleyball, etc between them to reduce tension.
After day-long deliberations, the BSF hosted a soulful musical event for the visiting delegation at the BSF camp, with Humayun's tomb forming the background.
Artistes performed Kathak and other dance forms followed by Punjabi folk songs rendered by famous sufi singer Hans Raj Hans.
The Rangers will meet home minister Rajnath Singh at his office on Friday.