NEW DELHI, India, May 16, Reuter: India and Pakistan agreed on Monday to joint police patrols of their Punjab border to check smuggling and arms supplies to Sikh freedom fighters. But Islamabad rejected a New Delhi suggestion to allow police to chase suspects across the border in hot pursuit, Indian officials said. The agreement was reached after three days of talks between Senior Interior Ministry officials from the two countries, which have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947. Indian Home Secretary C.G. Somiah said he provided substantial evidence of Pakistani help to Sikhs fighting for a separate Sikh homeland in Punjab, the state that was partitioned between Indian and Pakistan in 1947.

“The talks were cordial but no punches were pulled,” he told reporters.

He said Pakistan admitted arms flowed across the border to Sikh freedom fighters but Islamabad denied that it helped the gunmen.

Paramilitary border police would work out how to mount joint patrols and ambushes along sensitive parts of the Punjab border to check the flow of arms and men into India, Somiah said. The two sides, which last met in December, 1986, would meet again in six months to review progress.

Article extracted from this publication >> May 20, 1988