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Mufti welcomes Centre’s decision to start ‘Beat the Retreat’ ceremony at Suchetgarh

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Srinagar: PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday welcomed the Centre’s decision to start the Beat the Retreat ceremony at Suchetgarh on the Indo-Pak border, saying it will give a fillip to tourism and also improve cross-border ties.

“Welcome GOIs decision to start Beat the Retreat ceremony at Suchetgarh. Will certainly give a fillip to tourism and hope its taken further by using it as a trade and travel route between Suchetgarh and Sialkot,” Mufti wrote on Twitter.

The former chief minister of the erstwhile state said such confidence building measures improve cross-border ties and benefit both the sides economically too.

India on Saturday launched a Wagah-Attari-style BSF’s “retreat ceremony” at the Octerio Border Out Post near Suchetgarh village on the International Border on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti.

The ceremony, comprising a structured parade by BSF men, was launched with Lt Governor Manoj Sinha terming the event as a “history in making” and the locals fervently hoping that the usual rattling of guns and booming of shells across the IB, prevalent till recently, will be a thing of past.

They also hoped this event would bring much-needed peace to the Suchetgarh sector in Jammu and Kashmir, helping it become a tourist spot round the year like the Attari border and heralding peace and prosperity for the border residents through tourism activities.

“Today it is a history in making. Suchetgarh will now be known not only on the tourism map of J&K but in entire India,” Sinha said.

Suchetgarh town, now in Pakistan, is about 27-km from Jammu and earlier served as the route to Sialkot during the pre-partition era.

The Jammu-Sialkot railway line through Suchetgarh was a 43-km narrow gauge branch of the North-Western Railway and the first railway line in Jammu and Kashmir.

Since 1947, the line has fallen into a state of disuse on both sides of the border.

The Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry Jammu, meanwhile, lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi and LG Sinha for starting the retreat ceremony here.

CCIJ president Arun Gupta said it is a much-needed step for boosting the economy of the region as it is likely that people will visit the area in large numbers to witness the parade and herald a change in the socio-economic condition of the entire belt.

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