India's Republic Day ceremonies on Tuesday on the Indian side of the Attari-Wagah international border near Amritsar in Punjab were held in the absence of spectators due to the coronavirus pandemic, officials said.
The flag-hoisting, ceremonial drill and Beating Retreat on the country's 72nd Republic Day was a low-key affair at the Joint Check Post, around 30 km from the holy city.
Also missing was the traditional bonhomie between border forces of both India and Pakistan -- the Border Security Force (BSF) and the Pakistan Rangers -- who in normal times would share sweets and exchange greetings.
In March 2020, the BSF had stopped the entry of visitors from across India who otherwise thronged the JCP to witness the famous Beating Retreat ceremony -- a daily charged-up drill performed by the BSF and the Pakistan Rangers in the evening hours -- in view of the spread of the pandemic.
Only the joint parade was held on Independence Day last year. However, flag-hoisting and lowering of flags daily by both the forces is being held as usual. At sunset, border guards on both sides lower their national flags. Normally the ceremony is a major tourist attraction on both sides of the borders.