After a year, Pak Rangers, BSF turn up the aggression at border ceremony
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After a brief lull, the aggression is back in the 'beating the retreat' ceremony, performed by the BSF and Pakistani Rangers at the Attari border every day. Sources said that the aggression in the ceremony, begun in 1959, has returned in the last few days.
A couple of years ago, BSF jawans and Pakistani Rangers would aggressively extend arms, clench their fists and stamp the ground vigorously with high-kicks during a 45-minute ceremony that preceded the lowering of flags and slamming of the border gates at sunset everyday. For more than a year, however, the intensity of the gestures had been toned down. "It had earlier cooled down and was fine but it has become aggressive again," a senior BSF officer admitted.
India had earlier approached Pakistan twice, seeking to lower the intensity of the ceremony, but Pakistan had declined both proposals. The first such suggestion was forwarded in 2007 and the second followed a year-and-a-half later. In 2009, in a bid to support the Confidence Building Measures (CBMs), both countries had decided to do away with the aggressive postures during the beating the retreat ceremony but failed to implement the decision on the ground.
The Border Security Force, however, began to tone down the intensity. Pakistani Rangers then decided to respond to their Indian counterparts but continued with the foot-pressing and leg-stretching drill as the Rangers believe it is a symbol of fitness. The Pakistanis have been adamant that the parade should continue in its traditional style, which earned the drill the tag of being one of the most aggressive of its kind.
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