Wagah Border

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The Wagah border lies on the historic Grand Trunk Road between Lahore in Pakistan and Amritsar in India. The border crossing is near the Radcliffe Line which represented the boundary demarcation line dividing India and Pakistan upon the Partition of British India. The town is famous for the Wagah border ‘Lowering of the Flags’ ceremony which takes place every evening immediately before sunset. The security forces of India (Border Security Force, BSF) and Pakistan (Pakistan Rangers) have jointly followed this ceremony since 1959. The ceremony starts with a blustering parade characterized by elaborate and rapid dancelike manoeuvres and raising legs as high as possible by the soldiers from both sides, and ends up in the perfectly coordinated lowering of the two nations’ flags. One infantryman stands at attention on each side of the gate. As the sun sets, the iron gates at the border are opened and the two flags are lowered simultaneously. The flags are folded and the ceremony ends with a retreat that involves a brusque handshake between soldiers from either side, followed by the closing of the gates again. The spectacle of the ceremony attracts many visitors from both sides of the border, as well as international tourists and is alternatively a symbol of the two countries’ rivalry as well as a display of cooperation between the two nations.