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The Wagah Border

The class Politics, Culture and Security in India just finished up our study abroad trip, and we have had a busy 9 days!

Instead of summarizing the whole course in one blog entry, I'll post a few of them over the next several days.  Today's entry is about our trip to the Wagah border crossing between India and Pakistan.  The Wagah border is famous for the daily flag-lowering ceremony coordinated by Indian and Pakistani troops on each side, every single day, even during times of political tension and conflict between the two countries.


The Indian troops are in brown and red; the Pakistanis in black. The crowd in the background is on the Pakistani side.

The border point is close to Lahore, Pakistan and Amritsar, India.  Crowds from each city, and tourists from other parts of the country, gather before sunset on each side of the border.  The Paksitani Rangers and the Indian Border Security Forces face off in a strange display of puffed chests and exaggerated stomps, egged on by the cheering crowds on each side.

Chris and Jeff took a turn running with the Indian flag to pump up the crowd while waiting for the ceremony to start.


Thanks to our host in Amritsar, Prof. Kuldip Singh of Guru Nanak Dev University, our group had front row seats to the ceremony.  It was a colorful kick-off to the security studies component of the course.  In the days to follow, we met with His Excellency Salman Bashir, the Pakistani High Commisioner to India, were graciously invited to his home for dinner, and spoke with military and civilian thought leaders at foreign policy think tanks to deepen our understanding of Indian perspectives on national security.  More on these interactions later, and Wagah pictures are here.


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