New Delhi: Amidst heightened tensions along the border and the Line of Control (LoC), India and Pakistan are on Thursday holding here director general-level talks between the border forces of the two countries.
On Wednesday evening, a 15-member delegation of the Pakistan Rangers arrived in New Delhi for the talks. The team is led by Major General Umar Farooq Burki, Director General of the Pakistan Rangers (Punjab).
From the Indian side, the delegation for the talks is led by Border Security Force (BSF) Director General DK Pathak and 22 other officers.
Also Read: Pakistan violates ceasefire in Poonch
The talks were due to start at 10.00 am and continue till September 12.
The main agenda of the talks is ceasefire violations. Just yesterday, at least two BSF personnel were wounded in firing in Nowgam sector of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Pakistani Army also fired at Indian positions on Wednesday along the LoC in Poonch district.
The talks, one of the measures agreed upon during a meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif, gain special significance after the National Security Adviser-level talks could not take place due to Pakistan's insistence on discussing Kashmir.
The Pakistan Rangers delegation entered India via Attari, and was welcomed by senior BSF officers including DG Pathak. There, they boarded a special aircraft to Delhi, where the talks are taking place.
The Indian delegation to talks also includes officials from the Home Ministry, the Narcotics Control Bureau and the Survey of India.
"During the conference, discussions will be held on important issues like cross-border firing, infiltration and smuggling etc. The talks will also endeavour to focus on positive issues like different levels of communication, more simultaneous coordinated patrolling and other confidence building measures," a BSF official said.
Asked if the talks will reduce tension between the two countries, Pathak said: "That is the objective for talks."
With some 100 ceasefire violations along the India-Pakistan border since the Ufa talks, the issue is likely to dominate the agenda from the Indian side, sources said.
Till June this year, there have been 199 ceasefire violations by Pakistan.
Official figures reveal that around 430 ceasefire violations occurred on the International Border while 153 violations were reported on the LoC in 2014. In 2013, it was 347.
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.
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 violation by suspected unmanned aerial vehicles.
Pakistan had blamed India of violating its airspace when it shot down a drone in July. India, however, said the drone was not like any of those in the Indian inventory and appeared to be of a Chinese variety available off-the-shelf.
(With IANS inputs)