Subdued retreat ceremony on Bangla border

In a unique scaling down of aggression, the Indian government will take a more mellow approach to ‘beating the retreat’, the ceremony of closing the gates at the international Indo-Bangladesh border.

It will be much unlike the ground-thumping feet of chosen few Border Security Force (BSF) men in animated animosity, which mark the ceremony at the Indo-Pak border at Wagah.

While the pomp and the show will also be missing at the ‘retreat’, an elaborate ceremony to mark the closing of the border gates everyday, which draws a sizeable audience at Wagah. And India will ensure its musical diplomacy does not make it look weak when all it wants to look is amicable, despite the song-and-dance routine planned at the Indo-Bangla border in West Bengal.

With the hope that the ceremony will draw similar interest among people as it does at Wagah and will soon turn into a tourist attraction, Indian and Bangladeshi authorities will come together on September 20 for the spectacular ceremony at Petrapole international check post between India and Bangladesh at North 24 Parganas district. Although no senior political leader will be present from either side, the ceremony will see the presence of top officials from both the Border Security Force (BSF) and the Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB).

Although based on the idea of the internationally-acclaimed retreat ceremony at the Wagah border in Amritsar, the decision to keep it mellow was intentional, inform official sources. “The drills at Petrapole have been conceptualised in keeping with the mood of existing cordial and harmonious relation between BSF and BGB. The ceremony will focus on the finer aspects of the cultural ties shared by Bengal and Bangladesh,” a senior BSF official said, adding that the flag-off routine will be carried out before sunset on September 20.

“The arrangements to conduct the retreat ceremony have been completed with drills approved by both nations,” S P Tiwari, Deputy Inspector General of BSF (South Bengal Frontier) said.

An official BSF communiqué explained that 20 soldiers from each side will march up to the gate at zero line and open the door as songs of Rabindranath Tagore and Kazi Nazrul Islam reverberate in the air.

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