NEW DELHI: Even as India and Pakistan are engaged in a bitter confrontation over Kashmir, forces guarding the borders of the two countries have decided to open more lines of communication.

India’s Border Security Force (BSF) and their counterparts, the Pakistan Rangers, posted along the international border, have decided to add four to the existing 12, additional telephone lines for enhanced communication.

After the Director General-level talks between the Pakistan Rangers and the BSF, held in September 2015, it was decided that the two forces would communicate and use dialogue to try to resolve any kind of differences along the border.

The next round of talks was held in Lahore in July this year, where BSF DG K.K Sharma and his counterpart Major General Umar Farooq Burki decided to activate hotlines at the level of Inspectors General.

“Earlier, telephone lines were functioning at the level of Deputy Inspector General on both sides. It was felt that the IG level officers, the senior-most officer in field operations, should also regularly communicate to control any kind of skirmish along the border,” a senior Home Ministry official said here.

The official said the lines of communication have helped as not a single incident of sniping (precision attacks by snipers) has been reported since August last year. While 2015 saw 350 ceasefire violations in the Jammu sector, this year only three such violations have been reported in the Jammu sector, the only area where ceasefire violations take place.

“Since the two forces have started talking, no incidents of sniping has been reported and even the number of ceasefire violations has dropped. The moment we see any activity along the border, we immediately pick up the phone and talk to our counterparts, this ensures that the situation does not flare up,” the official said. As per the arrangement reached earlier, if any ceasefire violation takes place, it is recorded and the two sides exchange incident reports with the help of e-mails and facsimile messages. The communication lines were also set up to secure the well-being of the border population, who are the worst affected by ceasefire violations and cross-border firing.