After three years, the border guarding forces of India and Pakistan have revived sector commander level talks. The Border Security Force (BSF) and the its counterpart-the Pakistan Rangers have held two meetings in the past six months. the recent one was held on January 5.
A senior government official said that both meetings were on the request of Pakistan and that the first one was on July 24 last.
The talks between the sector commanders were last held in August 2018.
After 2017, the Director-General talks between the two forces have not taken place.
The sector commander talks are led by a Deputy Inspector General rank officer in the BSF and a Brigadier rank officer of the Pakistan Rangers.
After the January 5 meeting, held at the Octroi outpost in Jammu, the BSF said in a statement that “both sides agreed to conduct such meetings at regular intervals for better understanding and to maintain peace and tranquility on border.”
It added, “BSF also strictly objected to the drone operationss carried out by Pakistan regularly violating the IB [International Boundary]”.
Last year, the BSF spotted more than 70 drones along the Pakistan border and two of them were shot down. Dropping of arms and ammunition through unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) is one of the biggest challenges being faced by the BSF along the border.
At the meeting, BSF delegation emphasised on the infiltration attempts from the Pakistan side and regular recovery of arms, ammunition and narcotics on the international border.
The official said the talks were revived to also ensure accountability. “If the senior officers communicate, then it helps in resolving many issues and any wrong can be pointed out,” he noted.
According to D.K Pathak, former Director General (DG) of the BSF, the channel of communication should always be open as it helped in solving issues smoothly.
“Sometimes there are incidents at the border for which one cannot wait for the long chain of diplomatic command. Cross border incidents could be resolved quickly if officers on both sides are in regular communication. A small misunderstanding could lead to massive firing and shelling at the IB, that can trouble the local population, if such channels are open then it can be taken care of,” Mr. Pathak, who led the DG-level talks with the Pakistan Rangers in 2015 in Delhi, said.
A.P Maheshwari, former CRPF Director-General, said, “In their true spirit, such mechanisms are purported to evolve smooth operational practices at cutting edge level in consonance with the agreed ground rules. In turn, it helps avoid further conflict of interest. How much do they actually materialise depends on the intent and the content at a given point of time, backed by the credibility quotient” .