Life at the Line of Control (LoC) between arch-rivals India and Pakistan is intricate and difficult as well, especially in the twin border districts of Rajouri and Poonch that is south of the Pir Panjal range in Jammu region.
Reports of exchange of firing between the armed forces of the two countries are routine along the de-facto border.
The tension between India and Pakistan escalated after last year’s September cross-border raid on an army base killed 19 Indian soldiers and, in reply, the Indian Army carried out surgical strikes against militants in Pakistan.
Both the countries accuse each other of repeatedly violating a 2003 ceasefire. There had been several instances of cross-border firings and terrorist infiltrations within the country from Pakistan.
On March 9, Pakistan army opened fire and killed an Indian soldier Deepak Jagannath Ghadge, 27, of Satara in Maharashtra—in Poonch sector.
On March 12 and 13, Indian and Pakistani armies traded heavy fire including 82 mm mortars—again in Poonch sector. This time around Pakistan targeted Chakan-da-Bagh LoC Trade Facilitation Centre with mortars damaging its administrative block extensively. Consequently, the border trade and travel came to a grinding halt.
After all the firing at the “live” border, Indian Army personnel on Thursday took some time off their “routine” regimen to greet their counterparts on the occasion of Pakistan Resolution Day.
“The Indian and Pakistan army troops exchanged greetings and sweets on the occasion of Pakistan Resolution Day at Poonch-Rawalakote Crossing Point and Mendhar Hot Spring Crossing Point today (Thursday),” said defence spokesperson Lt Col Manish Mehta.
The day is celebrated across Pakistan to commemorate the Lahore Resolution passed on March 23, 1940, and adoption of its first constitution during the transition of the Dominion of Pakistan to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on March 23, 1956, he added.
The sweets were exchanged as per established drills in a congenial environment. Greetings on the occasion of Pakistan Day were conveyed to the Pakistani people and army by the Indian delegation, he said.
“These celebrations keep the bridge of communication open and at the same time de-escalate the situation on the borders,” a top defence source said about the celebrations of national festivals between the forces of the two countries on the border vis-à-vis the skirmishes that get really ugly at times.