New Delhi: Top brass of the Pakistan Rangers and Border Security Force (BSF) on Monday began their four-day talks in New Delhi to sort out a host of border-related issues including instances of ceasefire violation along the Indo-Pak frontier.
An 18-member Pakistani delegation comprising officials of the border force and the Interior Ministry, led by Pakistan Rangers Director General (Sindh) Major General Rizwan Akhtar, was accorded a ceremonial guard of honour by a BSF contingent at the headquarters of the Indian border guards in New Delhi. Akhtar later had a meeting with BSF Director General UK Bansal after which the talks began, officials said.
The Pakistani team had arrived in New Delhi on Sunday after entering India through the Wagah border. It includes the second Rangers DG (Punjab) Maj Gen Mian Muhammad Hilal Hussain, Additional Secretary in the Pakistan Interior Ministry Najibullah Khan and other officials.
The two border guarding forces are meeting in Delhi for the first time and the talks are aimed at thrashing out a host of issues including recent incidents of firing and ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the Indo-Pak border.
The officials said BSF is expected to flag a number of issues to the visiting team which include unprovoked firing by Pakistan troops in Jammu and Sialkot sectors, death of two BSF personnel in the last few months because of sniper firing and a spurt in the smuggling of narcotic drugs from across the border.
The BSF delegation includes senior officials from the Ministry of Home Affairs, PWD officials of Punjab government, officials from the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) and the Survey of India.
Before the talks began, BSF chief Bansal and his Pakistani counterpart introduced their teams.
The Indian side would also raise the issue of illegal crossing of Pakistani nationals into Indian territory and the return of inadvertent crossers, arrest of fishermen and confiscation of their fishing boats off the Gujarat coast and construction of unauthorised defence infrastructure along the International Border (IB).
A joint record of discussions will also be signed on July 5, when the talks conclude. Both the forces have a tradition of holding bi-annual talks, with each side visiting the other country once-an-year. Regular flag meetings are held by local commanders on a need and emergency basis.