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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Inauguration of “JOINT RETREAT CEREMONY” by INDIA & BANGLADESH at Petrapole-Benapole Check-post .

On 6th November 2013 the two neighbouring countries – India and Bangladesh witnessed a glittering, dazzling and historic  Flag lowering or ‘RETREAT CEREMONY’ at Petrapole-Benapole border check-post by the Indian Border Security Force (BSF) and the Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) in full regalia in which the two Forces lowered their respective National Flag .
The function was first planned to be started on 2 October but it was postponed due to the weather and the commitments of VVIPs of both countries.  The 13-minute Retreat Ceremony flagged off on Wednesday will be part of a new engagement between BSF personnel and their counterparts the BGB. 
 The amusing Retreat Ceremony was inaugurated jointly by the Union Home Minister of India and the Home Minister of Bangladesh, it was perhaps for the first time in the entire world that the border guarding forces of two neighbouring countries have come together to promote peace, harmony and mutual understanding between the people of both the countries using their shared culture, rather than encouraging animosity. The drills at Petrapole (on the Indian side in North 24 Parganas district about 120 KM from Kolkata) and Benapole (on the Bangladesh side in Jessore district) have been fine tuned to suit to the taste of spectators from both countries as well as in keeping with the existing cordial and harmonious relations between BSF and BGB.

The ceremony at the Petrapole-Benapole border will see BSF and BGB personnel conduct the drill in unison and synchronized coordination in full regalia, with the flag-lowering routine carried out before sunset.

     The Special Postal Cover issued on 10th January 2012 at Amritsar, Punjab.
The Retreat Ceremony has been modelled on the one at Wagah-Attari of India-Pakistan border post. The Beating Retreat ceremony at Wagah at sunset every evening in Punjab is marked by aggressive body language and parade by soldiers of BSF and Pakistan Rangers. The daily ceremony attracts hundreds of tourists every day from all corners of both countries. However, the issue of aggressive postures at Attari-Wagah Retreat Ceremony by the troops of both India and Pakistan has been a matter of debate. Efforts are on for some time to tone down these postures to some extent. Refer Flags and Stamps  Wednesday, February 1, 2012
History of Retreat Ceremony
The word “Retreat” means the end of a working day.The ceremony was first held in French Army. The American army started using this ceremony after the ‘Revolutionary War’. It usually takes place at sunset. The ceremony is intended to end the duty day and pay respect for the flags of each other. The retreat is tuned by a band or a bugler. In south Asia this joint retreat ceremony is being practiced at Wagah of India-Pakistan border (since 1959).
The ceremony starts with a blustering parade by the guards from both sides and ends up in the perfectly coordinated lowering of two national flags. One guard stands at attention on each side of the gate. As the sun sets, the gates at the border(s) are opened and the two flags are lowered simultaneously. The flags are folded and the ceremony ends with a Retreat that involves a brusque handshake between Commanders from either side, followed by closing of the gates.
The essence of this ceremony lies in enhancing the mutual trust, friendship and cooperation between two border guarding forces in particular, and between countries, in general. (Source: Brochure of BGB distributed during the inaugural function)
Note: The editor of the ‘Flags and Stamps’ was present in the VVIP gallery to witness the inaugural Retreat Ceremony on 6th November 2013 and expressed his gratitude to the BSF authorities for inviting him to witness this great event. Long live Indo-Bangla friendship. Jai Hind: Jai Bangla.

Flag lowering at sun set, Retreat ceremony at Scout's camp, Canada

Related sites; 

U.S. Flag Customs and Procedures

Rendering honors during Retreat and ‘To The Colors’ continues Army traditions

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