New Delhi, Jul 28: India today urged Pakistan to step up vigil and effectively check cross-border infiltration to prevent militant activities and clamp down on drugs smuggling during bi-lateral talks between the Border Security Force (BSF) and Pakistan Rangers which ended in Lahore today.
The BSF, in a statement, said talks ended on a “optimistic note” with both sides agreeing to undertaking constant endeavours to maintain peaceful and tranquil frontiers as the two border guarding forces agreed that there has been a greater adherence to ceasefire along the International Border (IB), since September last year.
BSF Director General K K Sharma and Pak Rangers (Punjab) DG Maj Gen Umar Farooq Burki, signed a joint record of discussions at the end of the four-day meeting that began on July 25 at the headquarters of the Rangers in Lahore in Pakistan.
“The meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere and with a spirit of cooperation. It was agreed that since the last such meeting in Delhi in September 2015, there has been a greater adherence to ceasefire along the IB.
“DG, BSF (Sharma) stressed the importance of vigilance against cross border infiltration and check smuggling in narcotics. Both sides discussed ways to strengthen measures to coordinate border patrolling on their respective sides of the border and address each other’s concerns in a time bound manner,” it said.
The Indian side, during the talks, is also understood to have raised issues related to cross-border smuggling of arms and ammunition along with narcotics consignments, detection of illegal tunnels running across the IB and the growth of ‘Sarkanda’ (elephant grass) and its weeding off along these areas.
The BSF chief also extended an official invitation to his counterpart to visit India for the next round of the bi-annual talks later this year.
“The talks ended on an optimistic note with both sides agreeing on constant endeavour to maintain peaceful and tranquil borders,” the statement said.
Last time the two sides met in Delhi it was decided not to fire heavy artillery like mortar shells and ensure that civilians living along the IB were not harmed.
The two forces had also decided that their officials, right up to the level of Directors General, will exchange mobile numbers, email ids and fax numbers for swift communication to resolve disputes on the IB running through Indian states of Jammu Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat.
The DG-level talks between the two sides are a bi-annual affair with the either side hosting it in their respective headquarters one after the other.