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Indo-Pakistan Peace Restaurant ‘Sarhad’ to showcase food in Paris at an International food event ‘Grand Fooding S. Pellegrino Plats’ in September

Aman, who studied Economics in Norway before venturing into the food business, hopes that one day India and Pakistan could foster better ties through the gourmet route

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Attari, Punjab, August 29, 2016: A popular restaurant, which sells Indian and Pakistani cuisine and the idea of peace between the not-so-friendly neighbours right at the international border between both countries, will showcase its food at an international food event in Paris next month, in September.

‘Sarhad’ (which means border) restaurant, located just one kilometer from the Attari-Wagah joint check post of India and Pakistan, has been invited to participate in the ‘Grand Fooding S. Pellegrino Plats’ in Paris, being organised by Le Fooding on September 24.

“Sarhad, which promotes peace through food with its Amritsari-Lahori cuisine and culture, has been invited to participate in the world’s biggest food event at Paris being organised by Le Fooding on September 24 this year,” restaurant owner Aman Jaspal told IANS here.

Aman and his wife Sameena will be serving the delicious Chicken Biryani, a popular rice and chicken dish in both countries, at the food festival. Aman will soon travel to Lahore to get fresh spices and ingredients from there.

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“Sarhad is one of the 10 restaurants invited from across the world with a similar mission to use food as a medium for peace and reconciliation. Top international chefs and restaurateurs will present essential dishes from different countries, religions and cultures in conflict with each other who come together through their shared gastronomy,” Aman pointed out.

LeFooding Restaurant. Image source: Facebook
LeFooding Logo. Image source: Facebook

International chefs who will be presenting a special dish for the Paris event are Niki Kopcke and Roberta Siao from London, Kamal Mouzawk from Lebanon, Celine Pham from Paris, Jessamyn Rodriguez and Les Boulangeres from New York, Regina Tchelly from Brazil, Pierre Gagnaire from France and Xavier Zapata from Marseille-France.

Sameena, who is from New Zealand and whose parents run a chain of restaurants there, is all excited about the Paris event.

“It’s a great feeling to know that like Sarhad there are like-minded organisations in the world who consider food as peace facilitator,” Sameena told IANS.

The theme of the food event this year has been kept to celebrate reconciliation, life and peace around and through food. This has been done in view of the tragic terror strikes in Paris, Brussels and other places across the world.

“Food has always been central to bringing people together, so the event will serve to highlight local and international initiatives, paying tribute to chefs, restaurateurs, NGOs that act to promote peace among men and women at different levels social, cultural and religious,” Coralie Kwok, chief coordinator of the event, stated in an Email to the Jaspal couple.

The unique border restaurant ‘Sarhad’ showcases the architectural, cultural and culinary heritage of pre-partition Punjab in general and Amritsar and Lahore cities in particular.

The Lahori menu at the restaurant, which is a big draw with visitors to the Retreat ceremony and among local residents, includes Chapli Kebab, Nihari Ghost, Bannu Kebab, Fish Korma, Miyanji ki Dal and Bakarkhani Roti.

“To add a little fizz to the current tepid phase in Indo-Pakistan relations, Sarhad has introduced non-alcoholic beer manufactured by Pakistan’s iconic liquor brand, the 160-year-old Rawalpindi-based Murree Brewery.

“Also available only at Sarhad is all-time Lahori favorite dessert, Khalifa Nan Khatai. Seven boxes of this desert were presented by Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the latter’s swearing in ceremony in 2014,” Aman pointed out.

Lahore’s leading designer Ansa Zafar has created furniture for Sarhad while Salah-auddin Michu has created ceramic jaali panels with exquisite motifs of the Lahore fort and Indus valley civilization.

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Pakistan’s most celebrated truck artist, Haider Ali, has painted two Tata mini trucks in Pakistani truck art.

These colourful trucks, with the slogan “India-Pakistan Friendship Zindabad” boldly emblazoned on the bonnet, are parked at Sarhad and are a big attraction for tourists.

Aman, who studied Economics in Norway before venturing into the food business, hopes that one day India and Pakistan could foster better ties through the gourmet route.

“If Paris can try to discover peace and reconciliation through food, there is no reason why India and Pakistan, which share a great common culinary heritage, should not give a chance to food diplomacy. Sarhad would be more than willing to host such an effort,” Aman (which means peace) said.

The brick-lined ‘Sarhad’ restaurant complex was launched on August 15 (India’s Independence Day) in 2012. It is located about 30 km from the Sikh holy city of Amritsar. Famous Pakistani architect and designer Nayar Ali Dada was roped in to incorporate features of old Lahore and old Amritsar in the design for the Sarhad complex. (IANS)

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India China’s Fight Over the Doklam Plateau Explained

Doklam or Donglang, is a disputed area between China and Bhutan located near their tri-junction with India

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picture from- indiaopines.com

By Ruchika Verma

  • India and China have an old history of disputes
  • This time, the dispute is regarding the Dokplam Plateau
  • The area is of strategic importance for both the nations

Disputes between India and China are not at all uncommon. The rivalry between the two nations is famous. There have been several disputes between the two on the India-China border in past, and there seems to be no stopping for these disputes in the present or future, for that matter.

India and China have a n old history of repeated disputes. zeenews.india.com
India and China have an old history of repeated disputes. zeenews.india.com

In June 2017, the world witnessed yet another dispute arising between India and China. This time the dispute was about China building a road extending to Doklam Plateau, which both nations have been fighting over for years now.

Also Read: China is likely to get involved if India disrupts $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

History of the dispute 

Doklam or Donglang (in Chinese), is a disputed area between China and Bhutan located near their tri-junction with India. India doesn’t directly claim the area but supports Bhutan’s claims on it.

India fits into the picture, as this plateau is an important area for India. Not only is Bhutan one of the biggest allies of India; China gaining access over the Doklam Plateau will also endanger India’s borders, making them vulnerable to attacks.

Dopkam plateau is an important area near India, China and Bhutan's borders.
Dopkam plateau is an important area near India, China and Bhutan’s borders.

Apart from the hostile history of the two nations, the Doklam Plateau is also important for India to maintain its control over a land corridor that connects to its remote northeastern States. China building a road through Doklam surely threatens that control.

A complete timeline of what happened in the recent Doklam Standoff 

On 16 June 2017, Chinese troops with construction vehicles and excavators began extending an existing road southward on the Doklam plateau, near India’s border. It was Bhutan which raised the alarm for India.

On 18 June 2017, India responded by sending around 270 Indian troops, with weapons and two bulldozers to evict the Chinese troops from Doklam.

On 29 June 2017, Bhutan protested against the construction of a road in the disputed territory.  According to the Bhutanese government, China attempted to extend a road in an area which is shared both Bhutan and India, along with China.

Between 30 June 2017 and 5 July 2017, China released multiple statements justifying their claim over the Doklam plateau. They cited reasons as to why the Doklam standoff wasn’t really needed. And how China has not intruded into India’s territory to incite the standoff.

On 19th July 2017, China asked India again to withdraw its troops from the Doklam. On 24th July 2017,  Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, in his statement, asked India to withdraw and behave themselves to maintain peace.

India and China seem to never agree when it comes to their borders. BBC
India and China seem to never agree when it comes to their borders. BBC

Also Read: Why India Must Counter China’s High-Altitude Land Grab?

What followed till 16th August 2017 was China constantly alleging India of trying to create trouble. They accused India of trying to disturb the peace and not withdrawing the troops, even after repeated reminders. They also accused India of bullying.

India, however, kept quiet during the whole fiasco, only releasing a statement regarding their stand and position at the Doklam standoff.

On 28 August 2017, India and China finally announced that they had agreed to pull their troops back from the Doklam standoff. The withdrawal was completed on that very day.

On 7 September 2017, many media reports claimed that both nation’s troops have not left the site completely. They were still patrolling the area, simply having moved 150 meters away from their previous position.

On 9 October 2017, China announced that it is ready to maintain peace with India at the frontiers. India reacted in affirmative, the peace was established when Indian Defence Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman’s visited Nathu La.

The issue between the two nations may rise again. Pixabay
The issue between the two nations may rise again. Pixabay

The Doklam issue, for now, is resolved. However, given the history of disputes between India and China, it won’t be a surprise if the issue resurfaces again in near future.