News >World

India, Pakistan tone down high kicking border show

2010-07-23 12:58

India, Pakistan tone down high kicking border show
An Indian Border Security Force soldier (R) and a Pakistani ranger perform a retreat ceremony at the Wagah border post between India and Pakistan. [] 

Motivation for the change was more medical than diplomatic

NEW DELHI - A daily, goose-stepping display of choreographed aggression by soldiers on the India-Pakistan border has been toned down because of knee injuries to the participants, a report said on Wednesday.

For years, the military flag-lowering ceremony that takes place every evening at the Wagah border post has drawn crowds of partisan tourists who cheer every hostile strut and stare traded by the border guards on both sides.

Despite the ritualized hostility, the show and the atmosphere surrounding it is one of good-natured rivalry and, according to the Hindustan Times, the two sides have now reached an agreement to take things a little easier.

"We had proposed a lowering of the aggression in the gestures during the daily parade, and subsequently took a unilateral decision to implement that," said Himmat Singh, a senior Indian Border Security Force officer

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

The motivation for the change was more medical than diplomatic.

The exaggerated boot-stomping that was a major feature of the ceremony had, Singh said, resulted in guards on both sides suffering "mild-to-severe" damage to joints in the lower half of their bodies, particularly the knees.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since the division of the subcontinent in 1947.

The nuclear-armed rivals are currently moving, albeit very slowly, towards reviving a peace dialogue suspended after the 2008 Mumbai attacks that India blamed on Pakistan-based militants.

Agence France-Presse

   Previous Page 1 2 Next Page  

Related News: