Wagah

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Wagah is the only road border crossing between India and Pakistan, and lies on the Grand Trunk Road between the cities of Amritsar, India and Lahore, Pakistan. Wagah itself is a village through which the controversial Radcliffe Line was drawn. The village was divided by independence in 1947. Today, the eastern half of the village remains in the Republic of India while the western half is in Pakistan. The Wagah border, often called the "Berlin wall of Asia", is a ceremonial border on the India–Pakistan Border where each evening there is a retreat ceremony called 'lowering of the flags', which has been held since 1959. At that time there is an energetic parade by the Border Security Force (B.S.F) of India and the Pakistan Rangers soldiers. It may appear slightly aggressive and even hostile to foreigners but in fact the paraders are imitating the pride and anger of a Cockerel. Troops of each country put on a show in their uniforms with their colorful turbans. Border officials from the two countries sometimes walk over to the offices on the other side for day to day affairs. The happenings at this border post have been a barometer of the India-Pakistan relations over the years. This ceremony takes place every evening before sunset at the Wagah border, which as part of the Grand Trunk Road was the only road link between these two countries before the opening of the Aman Setu in Kashmir in 1999. The ceremony starts with a blustering parade by the soldiers from both the sides and ends up in the perfectly coordinated lowering of the two nations flags. One infantryman (Jawan) stands at attention on each side of the gate. As the sun sets, the iron gate at the border is opened and the flags are lowered. The flags are folded and the ceremony ends with a retreat that involves a brusque handshake between soldiers from either side. The spectacle of the ceremony attracts many visitors from both sides of the border, as well as international tourists. In October 2010, Major General Yaqub Ali Khan of the Pakistan Rangers decided to end the ceremonial theatrics. There have been many calls for the opening up of Wagah border to promote Indo-Pak trade through increased transport between India and Pakistan. In March 2005, a delegation of the Indian Border Security Force met the Pakistan Rangers at the Wagah border to discuss the border issue after three years since the 2001–2002 India–Pakistan standoff. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]





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