The latest set of confidence building measures (CBMs) agreed upon by BSF and Pak Rangers to put an end to ceasefire violations and firing along the border are expected to be put in place in the next fortnight.
The two sides, during their three-day DG-level talks in New Delhi, had decided to enhance communication channels by getting in touch over the fastest modes of communication like mobile phone, fax and email and ensure that they alert the other side with a precautionary illumination fire if either side detects something suspicious on the International Border (IB).
“The 20-point joint record of discussions stipulates that the new CBMs and other points agreed upon shall be put into operation in the next 15 days.
“A number of these initiatives do not require the permission of governments on either side and can be implemented by the two forces on their own keeping in mind the top most agenda of peace, tranquillity and safety of border population,” sources privy to the development said.
They said like in the case of exchange of mobile numbers, both the sides have to work out modalities as international calling is barred from border locations and hence mechanisms have to be put in place for this.
“Basic details like the colour of the warning flare shots that will be used by either side will have to be worked upon and communicated to each other within the next fortnight so that the decisions taken during the DG-level talks could be implemented on ground,” they said.
The joint record was signed and endorsed on Saturday by the two chiefs — Border Security Force DG D.K. Pathak and Pak Rangers Director General Maj Gen Umar Farooq Burki.
The Rangers delegation, after this official ceremony, crossed over to their side in the evening through the Attari-Wagah land border.
These bi-annual border talks had taken place almost after a break of two years as relations between the two neighbours came under strain due to a host of issues.
As part of efforts to bring peace on the border, India and Pakistan had also decided to put a complete ban on firing of mortar shells along the IB in Jammu and Kashmir which has claimed the lives of several civilians and damaged their houses.
The outcome of the talks, which both the sides said were held in a “cordial and constructive atmosphere”, also endorsed a CBM that in case either side notices suspicious 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.
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 for ending ceasefire violations and development of mutual trust.
“They have assured that these two CBMs would be activated before the BSF delegation travels to Pakistan by the middle of next year for similar talks,” sources had said.
The BSF and Rangers also decided to hold coordinated patrolling along IB in Gujarat, Rajasthan and Punjab and once this is successful, it will be conducted along the Jammu frontier too.
The joint record also mentioned that both sides will take extra steps to help and repatriate those who inadvertently cross the border and similarly ensure early release of apprehended fishermen.
It was also decided, they had said, that any serious breach of ceasefire violation will be “jointly investigated” by the two sides.