New Delhi (Sputnik): Pakistan has suspended the operation of the Samjhauta Express, which connects the Indian railway station Attari with the railway junction in nearby Lahore, said the Pakistani media outlet Dawn. The train had been slated to depart from Lahore on Thursday, in accordance with its normal schedule.
Scenes from Lahore as Pakistan cancels Samjhauta express to India in the aftermath of its strikes on Indian military installations pic.twitter.com/LGawiSAkMK— Sidhant Sibal (@sidhant) February 28, 2019
The suspension of rail services between the two nations, which are currently embroiled in a heated stand-off, comes after India's Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal had ruled out any such action from India's side, saying that the train link will work as per its usual schedule.
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal: We have not yet received any instructions from the authorities about any change to the current running of the Samjhauta Express, we will follow whatever directions are received in this regard. pic.twitter.com/kgbQtVwrbs— ANI (@ANI) February 27, 2019
The train has three air-conditioned and six sleeper-class coaches. Service started on 22 July 1976 under the Shimla Agreement, that settled the 1971 war between the two nations. The train, which normally runs between Delhi and Lahore, takes a whopping four hours to cover the 27-kilometre leg of the journey between Attari station on India's border and Pakistan's second-largest metropolis due to security concerns.
The situation between India and Pakistan remains tense, with frantic military activity on both sides of the border. According to Indian authorities, Pakistan shot down one Indian fighter jet on Wednesday morning and captured the pilot, who had managed to eject and landed in the Pakistan-controlled part of Kashmir. Pakistan's move came in retaliation following India's Tuesday airstrike on an alleged terrorist camp located within Pakistani territory. India claimed its air assault as ‘pre-emptive and non-military' while Pakistan called it a ‘violation of sovereignty' .