Pakistan and Iran to set up joint ‘rapid’ border force

This handout picture provided by the office of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on April 22, 2019 shows him (1st-R) meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan (L) in the Iranian capital Tehran
Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: A joint border ‘rapid force’ will be set up by Iran and Pakistan in a bid to stop cross-border terrorism and infiltration especially.

The decision was taken after a meeting between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan during his official visit to Iran on April 22.

The rapid border force also called ‘reaction force” is being set up after a series of deadly attacks by militant groups across the border.

“We agreed to create a joint rapid reaction force at the borders for combatting terrorism,” Rouhani told a joint news conference with Imran.

Imran’s visit to Iran, the first since he took office last year, comes after gunmen who Islamabad says were based in Iran killed 14 members of Pakistan’s security forces last week in its own Balochistan province.

A diplomatic source told Gulf News that it would take sometime to set up the joint border ‘rapid’ response force. “Top security officials from both the countries will meet in coming days to discus the modalities of the proposed ‘border force,” he said, adding that the new initiative is unique and would be beneficial for both the countries as it also help stop the blame game,

“He suggested that the Pakistani security chief will sit with his Iranian counterpart and discuss ways of cooperation so that the countries reach a level of trust and stop any terrorist activity from their soil,” Imran said.

“We hope that this will build confidence between us; it will help build a future relationship where we have complete confidence in each other,” the prime minister said.,” Imran said.

“We trust that both countries will not have terrorist activities from their soil … We will not allow any damage to your country from our soil,” added Imran who started a two-day visit on Sunday.

Both Pakistan and Iran have said militant groups operate from the other country’s soil, occasionally carrying out deadly cross-border attacks.

In March, Rouhani demanded Pakistan act “decisively against anti-Iranian terrorists”, following a February 13 attack that killed 27 members of the elite Revolutionary Guards in Sistan-Baluchistan.

Iran has said a Pakistani suicide bomber was behind the attack, which was claimed by the Sunni jihadist group Jaish al-Adl (Army of Justice), which Tehran says operates mostly out of bases in Pakistan.

On Saturday, Islamabad said it had evidence the “terrorist outfits” that carried out the attack in Balochistan had “training and logistic camps inside Iranian areas bordering Pakistan”.

Imran’s meeting with Rouhani

Earlier, during their meeting, Imran discussed the entire spectrum of bilateral relations and ways to further ties in diverse fields with President Rouhani.

He said that the most important agenda item for his visit to Tehran was “the issue of terrorism”.

Imran said that Pakistan had “probably suffered more from terrorism than any other country, with over 70,000 lives lost in the past 12-13 years”.

He said that the security agencies of Pakistan must be appreciated for the way they tackled and overcame terrorism in Pakistan.

He further said that the entire political spectrum in Pakistan had come to the conclusion that no militant groups would be allowed to operate from the Pakistani soil.

Militant groups dismantled

Imran said that, for the first time, the current government was dismantling militant groups across the country. He said that this was not due to any outside pressure, but the result of a decision made through consensus across the political spectrum in Pakistan that the country will not allow its soil to be used by anyone against anyone.

Imran also brought his counterpart’s attention to the April 18 terror attack in Ormara, in which 14 armed forces personnel were martyred. He said he understands that Iran had also suffered from terrorist attacks by groups operating within Pakistan, but stressed that the issues need to be resolved before they push the two countries apart.

Link between Gwadar and Chabahar ports

As per Radio Pakistan, Rouhani said that the two countries have agreed to bolster their trade and economic relations and have agreed to set up a barter committee for the exchange of goods.

He said that Iran was also interested in establishing links between the Gwadar and Chabahar ports in order to strengthen commercial relations.

Rouhani said that Iran was ready to meet Pakistan’s oil and gas requirements and added that Iran has already taken measures to construct a pipeline near the Pakistani border. He said that Iran was also ready to increase the export of electricity to Pakistan.

(With inputs by Agencies)

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