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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 05 March 2024

'Jury still out' on why Pakistan broke ceasefire at International Border: BSF Director General

Pak Rangers in October initiated a cross-border shelling – the first major ceasefire violation since 2021 – in the Jammu sector that left a Border Security Force jawan and a woman injured

PTI Hazaribagh Published 30.11.23, 02:24 PM
Representational Picture

Representational Picture File picture

The jury is still out as to why Pakistan recently broke the long agreed-upon ceasefire along the International Border with no "convincing" explanation offered by their officers during flag meetings, BSF director general (DG) Nitin Agrawal said on Thursday. Agrawal was speaking to reporters during the annual press meet at a Border Security Force camp in the 'Meru' area of Hazaribag in Jharkhand on the eve of the 59th Raising Day of the force.

The force, about 2.65 lakh in strength, was raised on December 1, 1965, and is primarily tasked to guard over 6,386 km-long Indian fronts with Pakistan and Bangladesh.

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Union Home Minister Amit Shah is expected to take the salute of the ceremonial parade here on Friday. "As far as the reason for ceasefire violation goes we have no clue. We are analysing every aspect. During flag meetings, they (Pak Rangers) have been giving XYZ reasons for this (ceasefire violation) but they are not at all convincing.

"They (Pak Rangers) themselves felt that they are not sounding convincing. They just mentioned something for the sake of it," the BSF DG said.

The jury is still out as to why they did it. There is no definite answer for that right now, he added.

Pak Rangers in October initiated cross-border shelling -- the first major ceasefire violation since 2021 -- in the Jammu sector that left a BSF jawan and a woman injured.

There have been at least six overall violations since the two sides signed a ceasefire agreement on February 25, 2021.

The BSF DG said the force mounted "effective" retaliatory fire during these ceasefire violations and "there were reports from multiple sources of heavy casualties on the other side." A senior officer said that at least seven Pak Rangers are estimated to be been killed in the BSF fire.

"I can assure the country that the BSF will effectively guard the borders," the DG said.

The paramilitary force chief said that between November last year and October this year, they recovered 90 drones that crossed over to Indian territory from Pakistan.

Out of these, as per official data, 81 were recovered from Punjab, while the rest were from Rajasthan.

Official sources said, during the same period, the force witnessed as many as 300 sightings of unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, largely used for trafficking drugs from Pakistan to the border state of Punjab.

We have recovered about 1,000 kg of heroin from along the western front (India-Pak border) over the last one year, the DG said.

The drones that we shoot down and recover are largely made in China and whenever we inform our Pakistani counterparts about this cross-border criminal activity they "always deny," Agrawal said.

The BSF, as per an official statement, has also deployed some vehicle-mounted anti-drone system to counter the "increasing" threat of UAVs along the India-Pakistan front.

A senior officer later told PTI that the force, over the last few months, had been witnessing a new trend which involves the use of very small drones for smuggling of narcotics, mostly heroin, stuffed in plastic cold drink bottles from Pakistan to Punjab.

Small drones are cheaper and they carry about 1 kg or lesser quantity of drugs, for this reason, cross-border narcotics operatives find them more successful for the purpose than large or mid-size drones, the officer said.

Recently, he said, the BSF busted one such attempt of smuggling, apprehending a man along the India-Pakistan border in Rajasthan.

We caught the agent and asked him to remain in touch with his Pakistani counterpart following which four drone sorties carrying drugs was recovered, he said.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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