New Delhi: Border guarding forces of  India and Pakistan have decided to resolve issues of ceasefire violations and firing along the border through a new dialogue mechanism between their local commanders.

Border Security Force (BSF) chief Subhash Joshi, who led a delegation of his officials for bilateral talks with Pakistan Rangers in the neighbouring country recently, today said both the sides have agreed that the commanders of these forces on the ground should meet at regular intervals to thrash out issues rather than the higher-ups holding formal talks.

The new decision would mean that the field commanders can talk to each other promptly rather than wait for approvals from seniors everytime. Specific cases would be dealt with according to old protocols.

Joshi said a host of confidence-building measures were discussed between the two forces, out of which the most salient point was the decision for quick repatriation of people who inadvertently cross the Indo-Pak border.

BSF officials said they witness an average of 60 such incidents of local people crossing over the border.

“We have agreed to send back the inadvertent crossers as soon as possible. My force commanders have been instructed to undertake quick measures in facilitating the return of such people after it is diligently established that they had no ulterior motives,” Joshi said on the sidelines of a BSF event here.

The Director General (DG) expressed the hope that these measures would help increase the confidence and friendship between the two forces.

Joshi said while it has decided that there will be ‘zero tolerance’ towards smuggling activities from both the sides, all existing mechanisms of communication between the officials on the ground would be enhanced by activation of a few more channels of conversation in the light of any incident that needs talking between the BSF and the Rangers.

Sources said the Rangers have agreed to investigate BSF’s contention that a few of its troops, on border guarding duties, have been injured by firing from ‘sniper’ or precision weapons which is against the rules of engagement during peacetime.

While the 13-member Indian delegation was led by Joshi, the Rangers team was headed by Maj Gen Khan Tahir Javed Khan. The officials of the two forces held face-to-face talks after one-and-half years.

Joshi earlier flagged off a contingent of the force which will render police duties under the United Nations (UN) flag in Haiti.

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Free Press Journal