NEW DELHI: The customary exchange of sweets between the BSF and Pakistan Rangers along the International Border did not take place on the occasion of Eid on Monday as the neighbouring country refused to send its personnel, officials said.
There has been a fresh strain in ties between India and Pakistan after the government scrapped special status to Jammu and Kashmir, with Islamabad unilaterally downgrading diplomatic relations.
On Monday, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi asked Opposition parties to come together on the Kashmir issue, saying the country should have a united stand on the issue. “Pakistani nation and political leadership is united on the issue of Kashmir and one voice will be sounded on August 14 in support of Kashmiris,” he said.
The officials said the Pakistani side refused to attend the ceremony after the Border Security Force (BSF) sent across official communication to exchange sweets and greetings along the IB running through Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat.
“The customary event did not take place at any location along the India-Pakistan border on the occasion of Eid al-Adha,” a senior official said.
The two forces that are deployed along the over 3,000 km of the border exchange sweets on major festivals such as Eid, Holi, Diwali and their respective national days.
Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria returned to India on Saturday, days after Islamabad expelled him following its decision to downgrade diplomatic ties.
India has been maintaining that its decision on Jammu and Kashmir was an internal affair aimed at ensuring the overall welfare of the region.
Meanwhile, exchange of sweets between BSF personnel and their Bangladeshi counterparts, Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB), took place at designated locations along the 4,096-km frontier shard by the two countries.
Senior commanders of the two forces exchanged best wishes and presented sweets to each other as part of the existing friendly protocol along the Bangladesh border, the official said.