New Delhi: A high-level delegation of Pakistan Rangers arrived in India on Wednesday to hold talks with the Border Security Force (BSF) on a host of issues, officials said.
The talks come in the backdrop of strained ties between the two countries with a number of incidents of ceasefire violations and killings of civilians and troops.
The 19-member Pakistani delegation is led by the director general of the rangers (Sindh) major general Muhammad Saeed while the Indian side will be headed by Border Security Force chief K.K. Sharma. The Pakistani delegation, also comprising officials from their interior (home) ministry and anti-narcotics force, is expected to return on 10 November.
The last time the two sides met was in July last year when the BSF delegation led by D.G. Sharma travelled to Lahore for the bi-annual talks.
Officials said the latest round of talks have been delayed by a few months as both the sides had strained ties. The BSF too, in the recent past, had claimed to have killed a number of rangers as part of its retaliation to the ceasefire violations along the India-Pakistan International Border (IB).
Officials said the Indian side will put across these issues during the talks apart from interception and neutralisation of a number of terrorist infiltration attempts along the IB from the Pakistani side over the last year. Issues of smuggling of drugs, especially along the IB in Punjab, arms and detection of under-ground tunnels will also be discussed between the two sides.
The Pakistani delegation may also call on home minister Rajnath Singh during the visit. The last time the Rangers came to India for the DG-level talks was in September 2015, a time when ceasefire violations by Pakistan were on a high.
India’s 3,323km-long border with Pakistan runs through four states—Jammu and Kashmir (1,225km which includes 740km of Line of Control), Rajasthan (1,037km), Punjab (553km) and Gujarat (508km). While the BSF guards the International Border (IB) independently, it works under the operational command of the army while working at the LOC.