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Border guards meet after three years

March 25, 2004

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LAHORE, March 24: A 14-member delegation of the Indian Border Security Force arrived here from the Wagah border on Wednesday to interact with the Pakistan Rangers on border problems.

The agenda of the four-day biannual meeting, not held since May 2001, includes effective patrolling, control on smuggling and other border crimes, repatriation of inadvertent crossers and maintenance of boundary pillars.

The meeting would provide an opportunity to identify and overcome weaknesses in the existing border security system, said the Indian delegation leader Inspector Gen Shri G S Gill and Pakistan Rangers (Punjab) DG Maj-Gen Husain Mehdi, while talking to newsmen at the Rangers mess.

Mr Gill said: "We are here to strengthen the good relations enjoyed by our border forces for the benefit of the people of both sides." To a question, he said, India had set up fencing in his territory to effectively control border crimes.

When asked to comment on installation of gadgets on the Indian side to check telecommunication signals, Mr Gill rejected the suggestion, saying he had no knowledge of any such installation.

Answering another question, he said, both sides would discuss the release of prisoners held under charges of illegal border crossing. Pakistan Rangers (Sindh) DG Maj-Gen Javed Zia received the Indian delegation at the border, while Maj-Gen Husain Mehdi welcomed them at the Rangers mess.

Other members of the Pakistani side included Brig Sakhi Marjan, Deputy DG (Punjab), Brig Rasheed, Anti-Narcotics Force (Punjab) commander, Col S K Husain, Col M Z Iqbal, Lt-Col M T Azam, Lt-Col Ahmad, Lt-Col K Husain, Maj H Islam, Director Eastern Circle Survey of Pakistan (Punjab) Maj Mohar Ali (retired), Director Southern Circle Survey of Pakistan (Sindh) Muhammad Akram, Chaudhry Munawar Bashir and Abdul Rashid Jatoi.

The Indian side comprised Shri G S Gill, BSF (Punjab) IG, Shri R S Tewari, BSF (HQ) IG, Dilip Trivedi, BSF (Jammu) IG, S N Jain BSF (Rajasthan) IG, Shivaji Singh BSF (HQ) IG, M K Razdan, R S Panwar, GS Sandhu, DV Saraswat, KS Chauhan, Director Survey of India, Chandigarh, Brig C S Bewali, and zonal director narcotics Rakesh Goyal. -APP