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New Delhi (Sputnik): Despite being arch-rivals, both countries have maintained their years-long tradition of exchanging sweets and greeting each other on independence days and festive occasions like Diwali. Current tensions that ensued after the repeal of Kashmir’s special status have gradually started souring traditional relations.

Amid persisting cross-border fire between the Indian and Pakistan armies lately, Pakistan has decided to return the sweets which India sent with Diwali greetings on Monday.

The development came in the light of the alleged cross border strike by Indian troops on Sunday, in which several Pakistani soldiers and terrorists were killed.

Sources said the Indian side had sent packets of sweets to all the important dignitaries on Monday. “The Pakistan side had accepted the greetings and sweets, but only on Tuesday, dignitaries including Pakistani rangers returned those sweets,” an official said on Wednesday.

To bust the Indian claim about artillery shelling at terror launchpads, Pakistan on Tuesday accompanied as many as 22 foreign diplomats along with media to the Line of Control (LoC), the de-facto border.

Pakistan claimed that the artillery shelling by the Indian side on Sunday had targeted civilian areas in Pakistan.

Refusal of the traditional greetings by Pakistan is a continuation of what the Prime Minister Imran Khan-led Pakistan Government had promised, after the repeal of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir by the Indian parliament.

Pakistan had refused the traditional greeting on its 14 August Independence Day and during the Eid festival this year.

Pakistan’s recent attitude is in sharp contrast to that witnessed after February, even during the height of the Balakot strike; then the two countries had reached a war-like situation and nevertheless exchanged sweets at nearly a dozen points along the LoC and International Border (IB) and in Jammu and Kashmir during the Eid-ul-Fitr festival in June .

Pakistan already suspended all people-to-people contact and halted bus and train services between the two countries in August this year.

Kashmir has been a bone of contention between India and Pakistan since the countries gained freedom from British colonial rule in 1947. Both nations govern different parts of the region but claim it in its entirety. The rivals have also fought two wars over Kashmir.

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