Tensions between Pakistan and India have escalated to the point where the leaders of these neighboring nuclear-armed nations have abandoned a long-standing tradition of exchanging greetings on each other’s Independence Day, signaling a significant deterioration in relations.
The Narendra Modi-led government in India, characterised by its hardline stance towards Pakistan, has dispensed with the customary diplomatic courtesies and goodwill gestures. Traditionally, the two countries exchanged formal greetings on their national days, with their armed forces even sharing sweets along the border on the respective Independence Days of August 14th and 15th.
However, at the government level, congratulatory letters were conspicuously absent. This diplomatic tradition of exchanging congratulatory letters had its roots in the 2003 cease-fire agreement on the Line of Control, which has now lapsed.
According to officials from the Foreign Office, the last instance of these nations exchanging congratulatory letters was in March 2021, on the occasion of Pakistan Day. At that time, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent a letter to his Pakistani counterpart, expressing wishes for "friendly relations with the people of Pakistan." The then Prime Minister of Pakistan also responded to this letter.
There was a glimmer of hope for a reduction in India-Pakistan tensions when Narendra Modi congratulated Shehbaz Sharif via Twitter and wrote him a letter upon his assumption of the Prime Minister’s office. In this communication, Modi expressed a desire for constructive relations with Pakistan, and Shehbaz Sharif reciprocated with similar sentiments in his reply letter. However, this positive development did not lead to any significant progress in bilateral relations thereafter.