BSF, Pak Rangers Meet in Jammu, Decide to Ensure Peace on Border
The two militaries had met in the last week of May and decided to adhere by the 2003 ceasefire agreement.
A Commander-level meeting between the Border Security Force (BSF) and Pakistan Rangers Sector was held on Monday, 4 June, in a “conducive atmosphere” with a focus on maintaining peace and tranquility on the border, a BSF spokesperson said.
The outcome of the meeting would likely bring a “firing-free” environment, the spokesperson said, adding that the two sides had agreed to keep talks on at every level to “develop confidence between the border guarding forces.”
Earlier in the day, the Pakistan Army had said that while there was no space for any war with India, its desire for peace should not be mistaken for weakness.
Do Not Mistake Our Desire For Peace as Weakness: Pak Army
Addressing a press conference, Major General Asif Ghafoor, the Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) – the media wing of the army – accused India of carrying out 1,077 ceasefire violations since the start of 2018 to date.
“Our defence, our desire for peace, should not be mistaken for weakness,” he said.
According to local daily Dawn, General Ghafoor said Pakistan had not responded to Indian firing, which followed an agreement by the two countries' militaries last week to adhere to the 2003 ceasefire agreement, but was "compelled" to respond only when civilians were targeted.
Local administration officials had said that an elderly woman and a minor girl were killed and 24 others, including four children and eight women, had been injured in mortar shelling by the Indian forces on villages along the Working Boundary, on Sunday, 3 June.
The Indians have to realise and understand where they want to go (in the future). We are two nuclear powers, and there is no space for war.Major General Asif Ghafoor, as reported by PTI
Ghafoor added that Pakistan wished to respect the truce agreement.
Rajnath Singh to Visit Jammu and Kashmir on 7 June
Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh is set to begin his two-day visit to Jammu and Kashmir on 7 June, during which he will review the suspension of operations in Ramzan and also meet those affected by cross-border shelling.
His visit marks the second high-level visit to the state after the announcement of unilateral ceasefire by the Centre from 16 May. Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited all the three regions of the state – Ladakh, Srinagar and Jammu.
During his stay in Kashmir, the home minister will travel to the frontier district of Kupwara where he will review some projects being undertaken as part of the Border Area Development Programme, officials told PTI.
The need for such an exercise is to understand the impact of the suspension of operations on the life of citizens.
Later, he will review the suspension of anti-militancy operations during the holy month of Ramzan with top police, paramilitary and central security agency officials.
Singh is also expected to discuss with the state government and security officials the possibility of extending the suspension of operations beyond Eid and during the period of the Amarnath Yatra, which will begin on 28 June.
The recent incidents of stone pelting, attacks on security forces in the Kashmir Valley and infiltration attempts along the border will also figure in the meetings Singh will have with the top brass of the security forces, an official told PTI.
The home minister's visit comes amidst an offer for talks with the Hurriyat Conference.
The separatist amalgam, however, has made it clear that it was ready for a dialogue only if there was clarity on the initiative and Jammu and Kashmir is declared "disputed", and a few other conditions are met.
On the second day of the tour, the home minister will visit Jammu and will take stock of the situation along the international border where over a dozen security personnel have been killed in firing by Pakistani forces.
Several thousand people living along the border were also evacuated and taken to safer places due to the continuous firing from across the border, another official told PTI.
The central government has already decided to construct more than 28,400 bunkers in Jammu and Kashmir for the safety of residents living along the Indo-Pak border who often face shelling from the Pakistani side.
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