New Delhi, Sep 11 (IANS) India’s BSF and the Pakistan Rangers held talks here and agreed to maintain peace on the border even as Pakistani troops continued to violate the ceasefire on the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir.
Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh meanwhile assured Pakistan that India will not fire the first bullet and wants to engage in dialogues at different levels with its neighbour.
The talks between the chiefs of the two border forces were held under cordial and congenial atmosphere. Consensus was reached on various issues, including no firing along the border to save lives of innocent civilians.
In Jammu, an Indian army spokesman said that Pakistani troops again resorted to unprovoked firing at Indian positions on the Line of Control (LoC) on Friday.
“Pakistan army violated ceasefire today (Friday) by resorting to unprovoked firing at our positions in Hamirpur sector. The firing started at 4 a.m. and continued till 5 a.m. They used small arms and automatics. Our troops effectively and appropriately responded to Pakistan firing,” Defence spokesman Col. Manish Mehta told IANS.
Rajnath Singh told the delegation led by Pakistan Rangers chief Maj.Gen. Umar Farooq Burki, who called on him after the talks, that India “wants friendly relation with Pakistan and will never fire the first bullet”.
Responding to India’s stand, Maj.Gen. Burki said that he is just the director-general of a force, and cannot give any commitment on the issue, but will convey India’s concern to the Pakistani leadership.
The home minister also stressed on the need for united action between India and Pakistan to control terrorism and urged the Rangers to ensure that terrorists did not infiltrate into India from their territory.
“Both the countries are affected by terrorism and all countries have to cooperate to fight this evil,” he said.
Stating that India wanted to engage with Pakistan for dialogues at different levels, the home minister said that is the reason why Prime Minister Narendra Modi met his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif at Russia’s Ufa.
“India always wanted good cordial relations with Pakistan and the government follows (former prime minister Atal Bihari) Vajpayee’s policy of peace with neighbours as ‘friends can be changed but neighbours cannot be changed’,” he said.
Noting that the Modi regime invited heads of neighbouring nations for its oath-taking ceremony to display this commitment, he said: “India always wanted the dialogue with Pakistan to continue, and Ufa meeting was a part of the same initiative. Unfortunately, the National Security Advisor level talks between the two nations could not be held.”
Complimenting both border forces for having a meaningful interaction, he stressed that “forces or civilians should not be targeted on either side”.
“Nobody should fire towards uniformed personnel… If firing takes place for some reason, the other side must verify first before retaliating by using ‘elimination bomb’,” he said.
Maj.Gen. Burki said that Pakistan also wanted to have good, cordial relations with India and will follow the decisions taken in the meeting.
He said there could have been some incidents at the border where firing took place due to misunderstanding or by mistake, both sides hope to defuse the situation in future amicably.
“Your country is very big. It is a great nation. We also want to have very good relations with India,” the Rangers chief told Singh.
The home minister also said he was happy that the two forces agreed to use the faster fax and email as the new means of communication between their commanders as compared to the conventional procedure of organising flag meetings.
BSF Director General D.K. Pathak told reporters on Friday, said the talks had been very cordial on the first day.