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Wagah (Urdu: , Punjabi: ਵਾਘਾ, Hindi: वाघा) is the only road border crossing between India and Pakistan, and lies on the Grand Trunk Road between the cities of Amritsarmarker, Indiamarker and Lahoremarker, Pakistanmarker. Wagah itself is a village through which the controversial Radcliffe Line was drawn. The village was divided by independence in 1947. Today, the eastern half of the village remains in India whilst the western half is in Pakistan.

Wagah border

The Wagah border often called the "Berlin wallmarker of Asia", is a ceremonial border on India–Pakistan Border, where each evening, there is a retreat ceremony called 'lowering of the flags'. At that time there is a very energetic and thrilling parade by the Border Security Force (B.S.F), India and the Pakistan Rangers soldiers. It may appear slightly aggressive and even hostile to foreigners, but it really is just spectacular entertainment for the crowds with grandstands having been built on both sides. Troops of each country put on quite an entertaining show in their uniforms with their colorful turbans. Border officials from the two countries sometimes walk over to the offices on the other side for day to day affairs. The happenings at this border post have been a barometer of the India-Pakistan relations over the years.

Samjhauta Express, the train service between Lahoremarker and Delhimarker, plies twice a week from Attarimarker railway station, 5 km from Wagah. The National Highway 1 of India starts from Wagah Border, and is the transit point for the Delhi–Lahore Bus service operating within the Punjab between Amritsar and Lahore was started in 2004, as relations between the two countries improve.

History

During British rule the village was part of the Lahore Divisionmarker of British Punjab. In 1947 the division like the village was split between India and Pakistan.

For the past 60 years since independence in 1947, porters have been carrying goods across the Wagah border, which had been the only road link between the two nations, before the opening of Aman Setu in Kashmir, for the start of the Srinagar–Muzaffarabad Bus in 1999.

On August 14–15, 2001, the respective Independence days of Pakistan and India, the candle-lighting ceremony at the Wagah border, in which 40,000 Pakistani citizens and 15,000 Indian citizens took part, was seen as a reflection of the changing public mood over India-Pakistan reconciliation, such candlelight vigils and the yearly 'Midnight Peace Festivals' were also reported in subsequent years.

There have been many calls for the opening up of Wagah border to promote Indo-Pak trade through increased transport between India and Pakistan. In March 2005, a delegation of the Indian Border Security Force met the Pakistan Rangers at the Wagah border to discuss the border issue after three years since the 2001–2002 India–Pakistan standoff.

In May 2005, Pakistan allowed the import of five specified food items, free of tax via Wagah border to tide over shortages in the domestic market, eventually in an unprecedented move, on 1 October, 2006, trucks carrying goods crossed the Wagah border, for the first time since the independence of Pakistan and India over 60 years ago, the 1,400 Pakistani and 1,300 Indian porters employed till then were employed in unloading lorries and trucks, with this the bi-lateral which stood as $1.3 billion (£650 million) a year in 2007, was expected to exceed $10 billion by 2010, the trade has further improved since then through the Wagah post, despite the ups and downs of Indo-Pak relations.


With over 8000 people visiting the border on an average day just on the Indian side, governments have started developing Wagah as a tourist destination in the coming years, improving tourist and custom facilities. Indian government plans to develop a global tourist complex at Wagah-Attarimarker border, which lies 30 km away from Amritsarmarker.

As the relations between the two nations improved, the joint talks to tone down the sunset ceremony were held between BSF and Pakistan rangers, the two later started "reorienting" their personnel involved in the ceremony, and effects of which were seen by November 2006, when the evening ceremony at the border was considerably less aggressive than the previous decades, at both ends.

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