As the 16-member Pakistan delegation arrived in India to hold crucial DG- level talks between the border forces of the two countries in New Delhi, India’s top diplomat at the United Nations opined that Pakistan should discuss the issue of ceasefire violations in Jammu and Kashmir. The DG-level talks between the two are scheduled to be held from Thursday in New Delhi. In the last few weeks, repeated ceasefire violation by the Pakistan forces at LoC and International Border (IB) has led to the escalation of tension between the two countries.
“If at all they have some concerns, they should talk to us bilaterally. (Kashmir) has always been a bilateral issue,” India’s envoy to UN Asoke Kumar Mukerji told the press in New York.
The statement from the Indian side came as a response to Pakistan’s letter to the United Nations Security Council last week over the issue of firing on the LoC.
“If they have addressed a letter to the Security Council on a subject which is very much bilateral, covered by the Simla Agreement which they have signed, then I’m very surprised that they have done so,” Ambassador Mukerji added.
In a letter to the UNSC president, Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN Maleeha Lodhi requested the Council to “take notice of provocative Indian actions” along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir and the Working Boundary.
Meanwhile, a 16-member Pakistani delegation arrived in Amritsar on Wednesday afternoon enroute to Delhi for a three-day talks between the chiefs of the Border Security Force(BSF) and Pakistani Rangers. The talks will incidentally be held after the gap of over one-and-a-half years.
The Pakistani side led by Pak Rangers Director General (Punjab) Maj Gen Umar Farooq Burki was received at the Attari- Wagah land border near Amritsar by senior BSF commanders of the Punjab frontier. Confirming the arrival of the delegation, a senior official said “the delegation crossed over to the Indian side at 12.35 PM”.
A 23-member Indian side headed by BSF DG D K Pathak will be holding talks with their Pakistan counterpart in New Delhi. The Indian delegation is expected to raise the issues like infiltration and the ceasefire violations in Jammu and Kashmir, including sniper attacks on the BSF personnel.
It will be the first high level bilateral meet between the two countries after a bitter cancellation of much talked about NSA-level talks earlier last month. The talks were cancelled as Pakistan insisted on hosting talks between the Kashmiri Separatist leaders and its NSA Sartaj Aziz, before the latter’s scheduled meeting with his counterpart Ajit Doval.
According to the Indian authorities, the talks will also focus on Confidence Building Measures apart from confronting Pakistan over the issue of repeated violation of the ceasefire understanding.
“The talks will also endeavour to focus on positive issues like different levels of communication, more simultaneous coordinated patrolling and other confidence building measures,” read the BSF statement.
The elite border security agency will also take up the issue of intrusion in the area of the Rann of Kutch in Gujarat, smuggling of contraband from across the border and illegal movement of suspects up to the zero line area along the IB in order to facilitate illegal activities.
(With inputs from the PTI)