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Wagah kicks get easy on the knees

The Indo-Pak talks between the foreign ministers may have come to an acrimonious end, but an agreement between the border guards of the two countries provides at least a symbolic step towards a lowering of tensions. Rajeev Bhaskar reports.

india Updated: Jul 21, 2010 01:39 IST
Rajeev Bhaskar

The Indo-Pak talks between the foreign ministers may have come to an acrimonious end, but an agreement between the border guards of the two countries provides at least a symbolic step towards a lowering of tensions.

The flag-lowering ceremony every evening, called "Beating the Retreat" by the Border Security Force on the Indian side and the Pakistani Rangers across the border at Attari will no longer be a display of aggressive and hostile gestures from both sides.

A large number of visitors from both countries visit the border post every evening and influenced by the elaborate gestures and heavy stamping of boots, would, till recently, often break into spontaneous cries of Jai Hind and Pakistan Zindabad.

But over the years, such heavy stomping of boots took a toll on the men who carried out the drill. Several troopers from both sides suffered mild-to-severe damage to joints in the lower half of their bodies.

"We had proposed a lowering of the aggression in the gestures during the daily parade, and subsequently took unilateral decision to implement that," Inspector General with the Punjab Frontier Headquarters of the BSF Himmat Singh told HT.

"Now, the Pakistan Rangers have also agreed to the proposal, and toned down their drill."