The Border Security Force has decided to forgo the customary Republic Day exchange of sweets with Pakistani Rangers, sources told India Today.
The decision has been taking in view of the recent tension on the International Border, which has seen a spate of ceasefire violations. Ceasefire violations have also been reported from the Line of Control in Kashmir; the LoC is largely guarded by the Indian Army instead of the BSF.
According to news agencies IANS and PTI, 13 people – including seven civilians – have been killed in recent ceasefire violations by Pakistan in Jammu alone. Congress, which is in opposition in Jammu and Kashmir, has likened the situation along the IB and LoC to a war.
The most recent death took place yesterday, when a soldier injured in firing on Wednesday died during treatment.
Indian security forces have said that they are responding to the ceasefire violations with “pin-pointed retaliation”. “BSF is giving suitable and pin-pointed retaliation to unprovoked fire by Pakistani forces from across the IB in Jammu. At several locations, the enemy’s firing positions, ammunition and fuel dump have been destroyed by precision firing of the border guarding force personnel,” a BSF spokesperson was quoted as saying by PTI earlier this week.
Pakistan, on the other hand, has blamed India for the violations, with its army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa warning India against any “misadventure[s]”. “Our commitment to abide by the ceasefire agreement of 2003 should never be misconstrued as response limitation. Indian aggression or any misadventure shall always get a most befitting response,” Gen Bajwa was quoted as saying by PTI.
Indian and Pakistani troops along the International Border follow a custom of exchange sweets on days of significance in either of the countries. January 26 is one of those days when Indian and Pakistani soldiers exchange gifts.
That, however, is unlikely to take place even though the two sides had what was said to be a positive meeting yesterday.