Indians excited by Independence Day - but cross-border tensions with Pakistan are increasing

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Indians excited by Independence Day - but cross-border tensions with Pakistan are increasing

A video has been uploaded showing the history of India since independence, yet political turmoil north of the border has politicians rattled.

A snappy YouTube video marking India’s Independence Day relives the country’s modern history in just over a minute – but the film’s jaunty tone belies heightened tensions in South Asia.

Relating India’s post-colonial past in the form of an extended Facebook feed, the clip races through the key points in the country’s history since the bloody partition of Britain’s onetime imperial possession.

Beginning with the famous words of Jawaharlal Nehru on the eve of independence, August 14 1947, when India’s first prime minister declared that his country would awake after midnight “while the world sleeps”, it continues by celebrating the nation’s cricketing prowess, its first ever astronaut and the first successful nuclear test explosion.

But the preparations for Indian Independence Day come as tensions with Pakistan continue to rise

Politicians in Islamabad are preparing to mark their own Independence Day, which falls tomorrow just a day before India’s. Yet the nation is in the grip of political uncertainty.

Today security forces attempted to thwart mass protests against the government which have been organised by former cricket star Imran Khan.

Along with a high-profile anti-government cleric, Tahir-ul-Qadri, Mr Khan is attempting to force the prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, to call an early election little more than a year after he won a landslide poll victory.

Both Mr Khan and Mr Qadri, who led mass demonstrations in Islamabad early last year to urge electoral reform, allege that the May 2013 general election was rigged.

The latest challenge to Pakistan’s democracy is being viewed with concern by India. Delhi is worried about the existence of anti-Indian militant groups and the fact that, like itself, Pakistan is a nuclear-armed state.

Mixed messages: Modi congratulates Pakistan on Independence Day

KARACHI: Just a couple of days after accusing Pakistan of waging a ‘proxy war’ in Kashmir, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Pakistan on its 68th Independence Day on Twitter. 

Despite a promising start in which Modi invited Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to his inauguration ceremony in New Delhi, relations between Pakistan and India have cooled of late after repeated clashes along the Line of Control, breaching the ceasefire long held in place.

Recently, Modi visited Kargil, the site of the conflict between the two rivals 15 years ago, where he claimed that Pakistan “continues to engage in the proxy war of terrorism.”

The Foreign Office responded to Modi’s accusations as ‘baseless rhetoric’. Pakistan Foreign Office Spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said, “The press reports of Indian accusations, at the highest political level, are most unfortunate, especially as the leadership of Pakistan wishes to establish good neighbourly relations with India.”

India celebrates its own 68th Independence Day tomorrow, the 15th.

Sharif seeks new ways to promote ties with India

Kashmir issue is the main source of tension, he says in his Independence Day address

Raking up the Kashmir issue, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday said it is the “main source of tension” in Indo-Pak relations and sought its peaceful resolution to explore new ways to bolster bilateral ties.

“We want peaceful resolution of Kashmir with our full sincerity so that by removing this main source of tension, Pakistan and India could find new ways for promoting their relations,” he said while addressing the Independence Day parade after midnight in Islamabad.

Mr. Sharif’s remarks come close on the heels of a spat between the two countries over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech accusing Pakistan of continuing to engage in a proxy war of terrorism against India.

Pakistan and India have been involved in a war of words, with New Delhi saying terrorism was a “core concern” in bilateral ties and its “tool kit” is not restricted in any manner to combat it effectively.

Pakistan had dubbed Mr. Modi’s comments as “baseless rhetoric” and “unfortunate”.

India has also voiced serious concerns over ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the Line of Control in recent weeks.

In his address, Mr. Sharif said promotion of peaceful relations with neighbours is the cardinal principle of his foreign policy.

“We are a peaceful country. We are striving for peace within the country and also want durable peace on our borders,” he said.

Mr. Sharif also called for durable and permanent peace in Afghanistan so that the entire region could touch heights of progress of development.

The three services chiefs, ministers, diplomats, senior officials and business leaders were present at the ceremony held in the Parliament premises.

Mr. Sharif has stated that he wants better ties with all neighbours and recently regretted not having good relations with India.

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