India, Pak resume contact on LoC, IB; exchange sweets

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Aug 14: As borders in Jammu region including Line of Control (LoC) in twin border districts of Rajouri and Poonch and International Border in Jammu, Samba and Kathua districts remained calm for past quite some time, India and Pakistani troops exchange sweets on the LoC and IB today on the occasion of Pakistan’s Independence Day.
It was after break of several festivals that the security officials of the two countries met at the LoC and IB to exchange sweets and fruits which, in the past, had become a routine between them but in view of last year’s heavy exchange of shelling and firing leading to several casualties and damages on both sides, the practice had been stopped for the past few months.
Official sources told the Excelsior that Army officials of India and Pakistan met at the main cross-LoC point of Chakan-Da-Bagh in Poonch district this afternoon during which they exchanged fruits and sweets on the occasion of Pakistan’s Independence Day.
The officials of two Armies were together at Chakan-Da-Bagh for about 40 minutes, sources said, adding that the officials were likely to meet again tomorrow to celebrate India’s Independence Day.
Similar functions of the meetings between Indo-Pak officials at other designated meeting points on the LoC in Poonch and Rajouri districts were also received, sources said.
The officials of Border Security Force (BSF) and Pakistani Rangers met at Octroi Post in Suchetgarh sector of RS Pura tehsil in Jammu district along the International Border and for exchange of sweets and fruits to mark Pakistan’s Independence Day. Both the sides met for more than 50 minutes. The meeting ended in cordial atmosphere.
The BSF and Rangers also met at various other designated points for such functions on the International Border and exchanged sweets and greetings.
The Border Security Force (BSF) and Pakistani Rangers also exchanged sweets today on the International border in Punjab on the occasion of Pakistan’s 72nd Independence Day.
The sweets were exchanged at a ceremony and both sides wished each other well at the Attari check post, about 30 kilometers from Amritsar district of Punjab.
Indian and Pakistani Army officials and border guards had skipped exchanging sweets in recent times due to border tensions on both Line of Control and International Border, mainly in Jammu region. In view of tensions on the Jammu borders, the BSF at Attari-Wagah border in Amritsar district, had also refused to exchange sweets with the Rangers in Punjab.
Sweets are exchanged on Independence Day of both the countries, national days like Republic Day of India and major festivals including Diwali and Eid.
However, no such functions were held either at LoC or IB on Republic Day (January 26) and Eid on June 16 this year in view of tensions along the borders with Pakistan Army and Rangers resorting to heavy mortar shelling and firing, in violation of ceasefire agreement, targeting civilian areas and security pickets. Pakistan’s provocative actions were very effectively replied by the Army on LoC and BSF on the International Border.
Even last year  also, there were very few meetings between Indo-Pak Army officials and border guards on major occasions due to repeated ceasefire violations by Pakistan Army on the LoC as well as International Border. However, during the past few months, there has been virtual peace on LoC and IB though sniping incidents were reported sometimes.