BSF, Pak Rangers agree to hold fire

BSF, Pak Rangers agree to hold fire
  • 2

Jammu: The border-guarding forces of India and Pakistan today decided to ensure peace by “holding fire” along the International Border (IB) in Jammu and Kashmir, a day after two Border Security Force (BSF) soldiers were killed amidst a spate of ceasefire violations by Pakistan, a senior official said.
A sector commander-level (BSF DIG-Rangers Brigadier) meeting of the BSF and the Pakistan Rangers was held at the Octroi post here after the two sides mutually decided to talk, the official added.
During the 15-minute meeting, the two sides decided to “develop confidence” between them and the Pakistani side said they would ensure peace and communicate with the BSF, whenever required.
The Pakistani side said they would not initiate any cross-border firing and the BSF reciprocated by saying that it would only retaliate when provoked, the official said.
“Today’s meeting is likely to bring a firing-free environment, particularly for the border area villagers on both sides. The commanders of both sides have agreed to keep the talks going at every level to develop confidence between the two forces,” he added.
The official said the meeting that began at 5:30 pm “went off in a conducive atmosphere with its prime focus on maintaining peace and tranquillity on the border”.
The two sides had decided to meet again on June 21, he added.
According to official data, there were 1,252 ceasefire violations by Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir since January to May 31 this year.
Two BSF jawans were killed and 16 people injured in Pakistani firing in the Akhnoor sector of Jammu district yesterday.
The latest casualties took the death toll due to Pakistani firing in the state this year to 46, including 20 security personnel.
Intermittent firing and shelling by Pakistani troops was reported in the Akhnoor sector in the early hours today, a senior BSF officer said.
Last month, thousands of people residing along the IB in Jammu, Kathua and Samba districts had to flee their houses following intense shelling from the Pakistani side.
On May 29, the DGMOs of India and Pakistan had agreed to “fully implement” the ceasefire pact of 2003 in “letter and spirit” to stop border skirmishes in Jammu and Kashmir.
The two military commanders had reviewed the prevailing situation along the Line of Control (LoC) and the IB in the state during a conversation over the special hotline — an initiative of the Pakistani Director General of Military Operations (DGMO).
Following the conversation between India’s DGMO Lt Gen. Anil Chauhan and his Pakistani counterpart, Maj. Gen. Sahir Shamshad Mirza, the armies of both the countries had issued identical statements, saying both sides had agreed to implement the 15-year-old ceasefire understanding. PTI