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Saturday, Sep 21, 2019

Kartarpur corridor meeting with Pakistan today, India plans to close gaps in pact

The meeting will also review the progress made in building infrastructure related to the corridor and decisions made at a meeting of technical experts at the zero point on the international border on August 30.

india Updated: Sep 04, 2019 07:21 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
A view of the construction work of Kartarpur Corridor at Dera Baba Nanak district Gurdaspur on Monday. August 26, 2019.
A view of the construction work of Kartarpur Corridor at Dera Baba Nanak district Gurdaspur on Monday. August 26, 2019. (Sameer Sehgal/ HT Photo)
         

Indian officials will attempt to close certain gaps in a draft agreement for operationalising the Kartarpur corridor when they meet their Pakistani counterparts at Attari on September 4, people familiar with the developments said on Tuesday.

This will be third meeting between officials of the rank of joint secretary to discuss and finalise modalities for facilitating Indian pilgrims to visit Darbar Sahib gurdwara at Kartarpur in Punjab.

“We had shared our suggestions with regard to various provisions of the joint draft agreement arrived at after the second round of talks at Wagah in Pakistan on July 14,” said a person who didn’t wish to be named.

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“We look forward to closing the gaps with the view to early finalisation of the agreement on the Kartarpur corridor,” the person added.

The meeting will also review the progress made in building infrastructure related to the corridor and decisions made at a meeting of technical experts at the zero point on the international border on August 30.

India had earlier proposed dates in the first week of September to finalise the agreement on the Kartarpur corridor in time for the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak in November. The corridor will link Dera Baba Nanak in India’s Gurdaspur district to Darbar Sahib gurdwara at Kartarpur in Pakistan.

Several technical-level meetings have focused on the alignment of a temporary road for the corridor, modalities to exchange information about using the corridor, and modalities to cope with emergencies, including medical cases.

Work on physical infrastructure for the corridor, including the passenger terminal building and highway, is progressing on schedule. A senior official of India’s home ministry is chairing regular meetings of an inter-ministerial group to monitor progress and ensure timely implementation of state-of-the-art facilities.

The corridor is meant to facilitate visa-free movement of Indian pilgrims, who will have to obtain a permit to visit Darbar Sahib, built at the spot where Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh religion, spent the last years of his life.

Despite tensions over the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, India and Pakistan have committed themselves to opening the Kartarpur Corridor in time for Guru Nanak’s birth anniversary.

First Published: Sep 03, 2019 19:52 IST