A surge in competitive nationalism has led to a "flag war" at the Attari-Wagah border as Pakistan and India mark their 70<sup>th independence on 14 and 15 August respectively. Pakistan has unveiled what has been touted as the country's largest national flag in Wagah – a pivotal transit point sandwiched between Pakistan's Lahore and India's Amritsar.

India and Pakistan, the troubled neighbours with a mixed past since their independence from Britain in 1947, are undergoing an uneasy phase in their relations in recent months with frequent cross-border incidents and political mudslinging. The nuclear-armed rivals, who were one nation before partition, have fought three wars since the exit of their colonial rulers.

To commemorate its independence day, Pakistan's chief of army staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa hoisted a 120ft by 80ft flag atop a 400ft-high pole at midnight.

According to the Pakistani daily, Dawn, the flag is the world's eighth highest and the highest in South Asia. Importantly, it is higher that the Indian tricolour flag which flutters at 360ft.

"Some 77 years ago, Pakistan resolution was passed in the same city [Lahore]. Pakistan came into being on the night of 27th Ramzan – it was a blessed night," Bajwa told the gathering against a backdrop of grand fireworks to mark the flag-hoisting ceremony.

"We have rendered many sacrifices – we will never forget our martyrs. We will execute each and every terrorist in Pakistan. I want to tell our enemies, whether they are in the in east or west, that your bullets will end but not the chests of our jawans [soldiers]," he added.

India has had its own set of problems in the past as its flags are often torn by strong winds. The Indian flag had been replaced on several occasions due to extreme weather conditions.

In view of this, Indian authorities decided to hoist the flag at 360ft only on special occasions. "The flag is not being hoisted permanently, because we are yet to find a way to make that sustainable. We should not consider what Pakistan is doing. We should only give out a positive message," Amritsar's deputy commissioner Kamaldeep Singh Sangh told the Hindustan Times.

India Pakistan Independence Day and flags
Pakistani rangers (wearing black uniforms) and Indian Border Security Force (BSF) officers lower their national flags during a daily parade at the Pakistan-India joint check-post at Wagah border, near Lahore Mohsin Raza/Reuters