Jammu: Amid cross-border firing incidents and India's efforts to stop the ceasefire violations, Director General of BSF D K Pathak today said the Pakistani side was not cooperating to defuse the situation on the international border (IB).
"We have made all possible efforts to stop it (ceasefire violations and firing). We tried four to five times to hold flag meetings. But they (the Pakistani side) did not respond to it... They never turned up," Pathak told reporters after a whirlwind visit to the forward areas along the IB.
The BSF chief visited several forward areas and met the jawans in a bid to boost their morale. He asked the jawans to give strong and befitting reply to the ceasefire violations.
"We have lodged with them protest notes 16 to 17 times after firing incidents and ceasefire violations," Pathak said.
Asked about the decision to hold flag meetings at field levels by both Army and BSF to defuse the situation, Pathak said, "I hope peace prevails. We have made so many efforts..."
"In fact, ever since this problem started as many as 16 attempts of contacting them over telephone through established channel of communication have been made. They only responded to the initial calls and thereafter they have not responded and there have been no initiation from their end," he added.
During the DGMO (Director General of Military Operations) level telephonic talks earlier today, India and Pakistan have agreed to hold flag meetings at field levels by both Army and BSF to defuse the situation, Army officials said.
The DGMOs -- Lt Gen PR Kumar from India and Major General Amir Riaz from Pakistan -- discussed the border situation during their talk on hotline which takes place every Tuesday.
Asked about the DGMO level meeting, the BSF DG said he was not mandated to speak on it.
BSF DG Pathak said "we want peace. Civilians are being targeted. We cannot be a mute spectator to the firing at our civilian areas. We are mandated to guard the border and our mandate is clear. Any trans-border violation has to be dealt with appropriately and retaliated. That is what we are doing."
Firing from across the border had continued for 45 days, he said.
Asserting that BSF was ready to attend any flag meeting to bring peace along the Indo-Pak border in Jammu, Inspector General (IG) of BSF (Jammu Frontier) Rakesh Sharma had on August 24 said that Pakistan had not responded to BSF's requests for flag meeting 16 times in the past few weeks.
"Our Sector Commander has tried 16 times from 16 July this year till date to talk (for flag meeting) to Sector Commander of Pakistani side but he never responded. So what can you expect (from them)?" Sharma asked.
"We have never refused any flag meetings. If Pakistan comes for a flag meeting we will certainly attend it. But as far as our stand is concerned, we have requested them in the past, but they have not responded," Sharma said.