Flag-lowering ceremony at Wagah border becomes more peaceful

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

The flag-lowering ceremony at the Wagah crossing between India and Pakistan, known for the aggressive and hostile manner in which it is carried out, has become more peaceful; at least on the Indian side so far.

To cries of Pakistan Zindabad (Long live Pakistan) and Jai Hind (Long live India) from the audience the two Border guards detachments at the Wagah gate have entertained visitors each evening. With warrior-like stamping and gesturing, they perform the ritual of “beating the retreat” (the lowering the colours) on their respective sides of the Border and closing the gates for the night.

Until now, the ceremony has been performed symmetrically by the two detachments, but the aggression has been ameliorated by (very cursory) handshakes by the two duty officers.

India has announced that on the Indian side, at least, the tone will be much less aggressive in future. It has yet to be seen if Pakistan will follow suit.