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Indo Pak border guards meeting in New Delhi

11 September, 2015

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NEW DELHI: Heads of the border guards of India and Pakistan began a three-day meeting in New Delhi on Thursday, which looks primed to work out new strategies to effectively restore tranquillity to the working boundary in Jammu and Kashmir, sources said.

They said there was hope to work out a plan to rein in hostile propaganda both sides conduct through the media, which weakens their ability to steer out from any bad patch during their border vigil.

Local reports suggested the atmospherics were warm and cordial. In what can be seen as an encouraging development in talks between the two neighbours, the BSF-Pakistan Rangers meeting has been extended for a day to “discuss and finalise” these new protocols and strategies, the Indian Express reported.

“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,” an Indian government source said.

According to the set agenda, the talks were to be wrapped up on Thurs­day as the Rangers are scheduled to meet Home Minister Rajnath Singh at his South Block office on Friday. They were to later meet staff and officials in the Pakistan High Commission.

On their last day in Delhi on Sept 12, a joint record of discussions was to be signed between the two sides after which the visitors were to leave for Islamabad.

“Yes, the talks have been extended for a day and a special session will be held tomorrow to decide on protocols that will be put in place to put an end to ceasefire violations and make the Indo-Pak border tranquil,” the source told the Express.

Border Security Force (BSF) chief D. K. Pathak, during a public function of central investigative agency NIA in the evening here, told Press Trust of India that the Indian side was “happy” after the deliberations on the first day.

“I wouldn’t say anything beyond that. The talks went on in a very cordial manner and we are happy about it,” Mr Pathak said.

Sources said the Indian side suggested that rather than debating and contesting about the past incidents, the two sides should work on a “future” strategy to make this border peaceful and safe for the troops and civilians alike. Pakistan agreed to this point and after some more positive talks it was mutually decided that the session should be extended by a day, they said.

According to local reports, the Rangers, led by their DG (Punjab) Umar Farooq Burki, asked BSF to initiate the joint patrolling along some mutually identified areas on this border, which was agreed by India. The Rangers “did not bring on table” the issue of activation of the UNMOGIP (UN Military Observer Group in Indian and Pakistan). These much-awaited talks are happening amid escalating tensions along the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir.

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