Kartarpur Corridor talks underway: India discusses Connectivity, Safety of Pilgrims with Pakistan

July 14 : The bilateral talks between India and Pakistan are underway about the Karatarpur corridor at the Wagah border. The talks are being held to sort out issues of safety of Sikh pilgrims and Infrastructure, which is of paramount importance to the Indian side.

The Indian delegation headed by SCL Das, Joint Secretary (Internal Security) in Ministry of Home Affairs was received by Dr Mohammad Faisal, Spokesperson of Ministry of Foreign Affairs Pakistan, at Wagah.

New Delhi is constructing a bridge on the zero line of the Kartarpur Corridor to provide all-weather connectivity and want Pakistan to build a bridge on their side too to provide safe movement of the pilgrims and prevent flooding of Indian areas as Kartarpur corridor is vulnerable to flooding during monsoon season when the Ravi river overflows.

Mohammad Faisal said, “Pakistan is fully committed and cooperating to operationalize Kartarpur Corridor. More than 70% of Gurdwara’s construction work is completed. We hope to have productive discussion today.”

Tensions between India and Pakistan flared up after a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed killed 40 CRPF personnel in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district on February 14.But Sikh community requested both the countries to start the corridor to commemorate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak in November 2019.

Special border crossing is being constructed jointly by both the countries, linking Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Gurdaspur district.

The pilgrims will require just a permit to visit Kartarpur Sahib. Established in 1522, Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur, also known as Kartarpur Sahib, is the final resting place of Sikh faith’s founder Guru Nanak Dev, the first of the ten Sikh Gurus.

Kartarpur route between the two countries will allow Sikh pilgrims from India visa-free access to the shrine of Baba Guru Nanak.

Last November Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan laid the foundation stone for the corridor to connect Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur area of Narowal district to Dera Baba Nanak in India’s Gurdaspur district.

The Indian delegation is led by SCL Das, Joint Secretary (Internal Security) in Ministry of Home Affairs and Deepak Mittal, Joint Secretary (PAI–Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran) in Ministry of External Affairs.

The meeting comes a day after Pakistan removed pro-Khalistan leader Gopal Singh Chawla from its committee that is involved in talks with India.

Sources said that the work on the corridor is expected to be completed by October 31, which is much before the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.

Three rounds of technical level discussions have been held with the Pakistan side and they have been asked not to create structures that would, in any manner, endanger life and property on the Indian side due to flooding,” the Home Ministry official said.

The four-lane highway connecting the Zero Point of the Kartarpur Corridor up to National Highway-354 is being constructed by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).

Pakistan is constructing a two-lane highway. The bridge is over a creek, in Pakistan. Pakistan said it would build a mud-filled embankment, that structure would not only lead to flooding in areas on the Indian side but also pose a threat to the structure of the Indian bridge.

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