Indian, Pak soldiers exchange sweets in Poonch

Mendhar/Jammu: Indian Army exchanged sweets with their Pakistani counterparts on the occasion of Diwali on Sunday along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir, officials said.

However, there was no traditional exchange of sweets and pleasantries between the two sides along the International Border (IB), the officials said, attributing it to the tense situation following the recent ceasefire violations by Pakistan Rangers that left a Border Security Force (BSF) jawan dead.

A BSF jawan was killed in Pakistan Rangers firing in the Ramgarh sector of Samba district during the intervening night of November 8 and 9, the first loss of life on this side after the renewed ceasefire was agreed upon by the two countries on February 25, 2021.

Earlier, two BSF personnel and a woman were injured in cross-border firing in the Arnia sector of Jammu on October 26, while another BSF jawan was injured in a similar incident on October 17.

BSF and Pakistan Rangers held two flag meetings on the IB to ensure adherence to the ceasefire agreement in October but the latest incident heightened the tension afresh.

However, the officials said Indian and Pakistani soldiers exchanged sweets to mark Diwali at Chakan Da Bagh border crossing point in Poonch district.

Sweets and greetings were also exchanged between the two armies at Tatapani crossing in the Balnoi sector of Poonch, the officials said.

In Samba district, a team of civil officials celebrated Diwali with BSF troops guarding the IB, an official spokesman said.

Additional Deputy Commissioner Samba Suresh Sharma, along with tehsildars of Kalsotra, Samba and Rajpura tehsils, distributed sweets and greeted the jawans with warm wishes during a visit to the forward border outposts, the spokesman said.

He said the team of officials also interacted with the jawans and appreciated their dedication and bravery in guarding the nation’s borders.

Lauding the soldiers for their sacrifice, Sharma said the district administration and defence forces are part of one family, and assured them of the administration’s support and cooperation in addressing their issues.

The jawans expressed their gratitude to the administration for their gesture of solidarity and goodwill, the spokesman said, adding they also thanked the administration for providing support whenever required.

The Samba administration has been actively involved in organising various welfare and development activities for the people of the district, especially in the border areas, the spokesman said.

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