It's not cold on the borders with China, Pak

It's not cold on the borders with China, Pak

Indian, Chinese troops discuss Bollywood, liquor and food

The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), the para-military force that guards the 3488-km Sino-Indian border, has even officially gone on record describing the Chinese border as “friendly” despite repeated media reports of “incursions” form the Chinese sides.

In one of the cases, the ITBP has even filed an FIR against the two scribes of a prominent English daily for reporting that one of its soldiers was killed during firing from the Chinese side. “The report is completely false and the case against (them) is on,” top sources told Deccan Herald.

The so-called “incursions” along the Arunachal Pradesh border “happen” because the terrain on the Indian side is uneven, giving scope for some misunderstanding at times, they said.

“Those things are managed during the meeting between the commanding officers of the two sides,” they added. Whenever it is required, interactions between the officials of Brigadier ranks take place to streamline view-points. It may take place once in a month or more often as and when required.

“We discuss the given agenda of the day and part smilingly after issues are settled,” the sources said, adding “the informal meetings are livelier where light topics of general interest come up for discussion.”

The ‘light’ topics include the Chinese interest in Bollywood actors, Indian cigarettes, food and liquor. “Jokes are exchanged... the only problem is the language; the interpreter’s slip sometime leads to funny  conversation with the Chinese,” said a senior official from the ITBP. The interactions have led soldiers on the front posts to pick up colloquial expressions of neighbours, he said.

Called the “Berlin wall of Asia”, the Indo-Pak Wagah border divides Lahore in Pakistan and Amritsar. Lahore is only 30 km from here. Unlike the Sino-Indian border, the Wagah looks forever on the boil. But thats more or less just at the surface.

Everyday at sunset, Border Security Force (BSF) personnel and Pakistani Rangers get into a high-adrenaline exercise to show the keenness with which they keep the sensitive border. After a ceremonial handshake, the guards get into a ritual of stomping their boots, their face full of grit and aggression, while they lower their respective flags. But to the huge crowd that gather everyday to see it, the act is more an entertainment than a show of strength.

And during festivals, the camaraderie is made apparent with commanders on both sides exchanging tight hugs and sweets. This year’s festive season is on the approach with Deepavali coming up next week, and the Pakistani side is eagerly awaiting mithais from the Indians.

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