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Friday, Aug 23, 2019

Kartarpur corridor: India proposes meeting with Pakistan in second week of July

India has proposed a meeting with Pakistan in the second week of July to finalise modalities and infrastructure requirements for the Kartarpur corridor, according to sources.

india Updated: Jun 29, 2019 22:52 IST
Rezaul H Laskar
Rezaul H Laskar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Heavy machines at work beyond the border fence for the construction of the Indian side of Kartarpur corridor, in Gurdaspur district, Monday, April 29, 2019.
Heavy machines at work beyond the border fence for the construction of the Indian side of Kartarpur corridor, in Gurdaspur district, Monday, April 29, 2019. (PTI file photo)

India has proposed July 11-14 to Pakistan as dates for a meeting of officials on the Pakistani side of the Attari-Wagah border to finalise modalities to open the Kartarpur corridor for the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak in November, people familiar with developments said on Saturday.

The first meeting of officials of the two sides on modalities for the corridor, which will link Dera Baba Nanak in Indian Punjab with Gurdwara Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur in Pakistan, was held at Attari on March 14.

India called off the second meeting, which was to be held on the Pakistani side on April 2, over the inclusion of pro-Khalistan activists such as Gopal Chawla and Bisan Singh in a Pakistani committee to facilitate Sikh pilgrims.

In an apparent indication that India’s concerns in this regard had been addressed, the people cited above said New Delhi had proposed the dates for the second meeting that will discuss a draft agreement on modalities for the movement of pilgrims along the corridor and resolve outstanding technical issues related to the corridor’s alignment and infrastructure.

However, the people made it clear that the move by India on the Kartarpur corridor should not in any way be linked to the resumption of engagement between the two sides. India has clearly linked any possible bilateral talks to the ending of terrorism from Pakistani soil, they said.

Technical experts of the two sides have so far held three rounds of discussions at the border to try and finalise the corridor’s alignment, crossing point and infrastructure.

Following the decision made by the cabinet on November 22 last year to open the corridor as part of measures to celebrate Guru Nanak’s birth anniversary, India has been building the infrastructure for the corridor, including a four-lane highway and a passenger terminal.

“More than 45 % of the work on the Indian side has been completed. It is targeted to complete the road by September and the passenger terminal by October,” a person said. India has asked Pakistan to permit the organising of “Nagar Kirtan” at Gurudwara Nankana Sahib in July and again in October-November to mark the year-long celebrations for the birth anniversay of Guru Nanak.

India has also asked Pakistan to increase the number of pilgrims allowed to visit religious shrines in the neighbouring country under the 1974 Protocol on Visits to Religious Shrines to 100,000 for this year in view of the birth anniversary celebrations.

First Published: Jun 29, 2019 21:20 IST

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