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Friday, December 6, 2013
Spurt in ceasefire violations to top agenda in Indo-Pak border guarding forces' talks
NEW DELHI: Increased ceasefire violations this year and targeting of border villages by Pakistan Rangers is going to top the agenda in the bilateral talks between border guarding forces of the neighbouring nations. The talks will be held in Lahore from December 16.
A delegation led by BSF DG Subhash Joshi will meet senior officers from Pakistan Rangers in Lahore and Islamabad later this month to discuss pressing issues on the border, including maintenance of ceasefire agreements. This year has seen one of the worst and most frequent ceasefire violations by Pakistan in the past decade. In October, the Jammu border was on fire for around 10 days with both BSF and Pakistan Rangers firing at each other with force and civilian casualties on either side.
Other issues on the agenda include spike in infiltration of militants from across the border and heavy influx of heroin across the western frontier. Recently, three suspected LeT militants crossed over to India and killed 10 people in Jammu. This year has also seen a very high seizure of heroin at the Punjab border. Agencies have already seized 836 kg of the drug till September.
Officials, however, are not all that hopeful of any positive results. "They are not going to accept that ceasefire violation was started by them. They will also not accept that any drugs infusion or infiltration is happening from their side. So there can be no understanding on that. It's a just confidence building exercise where we may be able to solve small border issues like those of some illegal structures near the border, but nothing more," said a senior official who has been part of such delegations.
The Indian side would also raise the issue of illegal crossing of Pakistani nationals into Indian territory and the return of inadvertent infiltrators, arrest of fishermen and confiscation their fishing boats off the Gujarat coast and construction of unauthorized defence infrastructure along the International Border (IB).
Pakistan, too, is likely to raise the issue of influx of acetic anhydride and alcohol from India. Acetic anhydride, produced in large quantities in India, is allegedly smuggled to Pakistan to turn opium into heroin.
Both the forces have a tradition of holding bi-annual talks, with each side visiting the other country once a year. Regular flag meetings are held by local commanders on a need and emergency basis.