India to raise truce violations during BSF-Rangers talks

New Delhi, Sep 8 (IANS) Talks between the director general of India’s Border Security Force (BSF) and his Pakistan Rangers counterpart are scheduled to get underway here on Wednesday, even as intermitent mortar shelling and firing continues along the frontier in Jammu and Kashmir.

Pakistan is reported to be seeking revival of the international monitoring of violations.

The agreement for the talks, scheduled to last till Sunday, was reached when Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart, Nawaz Sharif met on July 10 in the Russian city of Ufa on the sidelines of the SCO summit.

However, a planned meeting between the two nations’ national security adivsers fell through last month after Pakistani High Commissioner Abdul Basit invited Kashmir’s separatist leader ahead of the talks.

Pakistan Rangers Director General (Punjab) Maj. Gen. Umar Farooq Burki is expected to lead a 16-member delegation to New Delhi for the talks.

With some 100 ceasefire violations having occurred along the India-Pakistan border since the Ufa talks, the issue is likely to dominates the agenda of talks from the Indian side, informed sources said.

A major such violation happened on Monday when 120 mm shells were fired from the Pakistani side, killing one civilian and injuring four in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district.

Sniper firing being resorted to from the Pakistani side from time to time targetting Indian soldiers is also on the agenda of talks, the sources said.

There was atleast one incident of sniper firing that killed a soldier in August and two in July.

Last month, a JCO was killed in Jammu and Kashmir’s Nowgam area, becoming a target of sniper fire when he came out of his bunker.

In July, Naik Rachpal Singh was killed in sniper fire in Poonch district, while Constable Krishna Kumar Dubey of the BSF, posted in Karam post in Uri area of the Baramulla sector, was hit in his right eye by a bullet fired from across the border. He succumbed to his injuries.

India will also raise the lack of response from the Pakistan Rangers when BSF personnel wave a white flag, indicating that firing should stop and the on-ground commanders should meet.

Smuggling of contraband and infiltration along the border in the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat are the other concerns the Indian side is likely to raise.

According to reports, Pakistan has listed in its agenda a revived role for the United Nations Military Observers Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) for intervening in ceasefire violations.

The UN Security Council passed resolution in 1948 establishing the United Nations Commission for India and Pakistan (UNCIP). In 1952, the Security Council passed another resolution establishing the UNMOGIP to observe and report ceasefire violations.

India has maintained that the UNMOGIP has outlived its utility following the Shimla Agreement of 1972 in the wake of the India-Pakistan war the previous year that saw the creation of the independent state of Bangladesh out of the erstwhile East Pakistan.

“Even if the issue is raised by Pakistan, it is a matter of policy, and India’s stand is known to the world,” an official aware of the developments on the talks told IANS.

Pakistan had registered a complaint with the UNOGIP in July, blaming India of ceasefire violations.

As per sources, issues Pakistan has placed on agenda also includes the alleged use of objectionable language by troops on the Indian side, and lack of response on simultaneous coordinated patrolling along the border.

Pakistan is also expected to raise the issue of airspace violations by suspected unmanned aerial vehicles.

Pakistan had blamed India of violating its airspace when it shot down a drone in July. India, however, said that the drone was not like any of those in the Indian inventory and appeared to be of a Chinese variety available off-the-shelf.

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