Pakistan and India’s border officials will meet next month in New Delhi for a bi-annual meeting, Pakistan Rangers officials told The Express Tribune on Wednesday.
“As per border ground rules 1961, a routine, biannual meeting of IG Border Security Force (BSF) and DG Pakistan Rangers is scheduled at New Delhi from September 9 to September 13,” the official said.
“To coordinate the modalities of the September meeting, a prior meeting was held on Tuesday between representatives of Rangers and BSF at Wagah border.”
The meeting comes despite the last-minute scuttling of talks between the national security advisers of Pakistan and India. The cancellation of NSA talks also cast uncertainty on the proposed meetings between senior military officials of the two countries.
The separate meetings between Director General Military Operations (DGMOs) and heads of Pakistan Rangers and India’s Border Security Force (BSF) were part of the understanding reached between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi in their meeting in the Russian city of Ufa last month.
New Delhi wanted the two meetings to take place before the NSA-level talks but Islamabad proposed the interaction between senior military officials in September. Islamabad had suggested September 6 for the meeting between the heads of Rangers and BSF. It would have been followed by the DGMOs’ meeting. However, with the NSA talks called off due to differences over the agenda as well as Pakistan’s invitation to Kashmiri Hurriyat leaders, the meetings between DGMOs as well as heads of Rangers and BSF are uncertain, said a senior Pakistani official.
Different interpretations of the Ufa joint statement had led to a blame game that eventually compelled Pakistan to call off the NSA talks just hours before Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz was to travel to New Delhi.
While India was adamant that under the Ufa accord, the NSA meeting was restricted to terrorism-related issues, Pakistan insisted the Kashmir issue was very much part of the agenda.