Kartarpur corridor talks not resumption of bilateral ties with Pak: India

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByHT Correspondent
Mar 09, 2019 12:28 PM IST

India has said that holding talks over Kartarpur corridor with upcoming Pakistani delegation does not indicate resumption of bilateral ties with the neighbouring country.

India on Saturday clarified that holding talks with Pakistan over Kartarpur corridor does not imply resumption of bilateral ties with Pakistan. Raveesh Kumar, the spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, said Kartarpur corridor talks are about respecting the religious sentiments of people believing in Sikhism.

Kartarpur: A view of the shrine of Sikh leader Guru Nanak Dev in Kartarpur, Pakistan.(PTI)
Kartarpur: A view of the shrine of Sikh leader Guru Nanak Dev in Kartarpur, Pakistan.(PTI)

“I would like to make it clear that holding Kartarpur corridor talks doesn’t mean resumption of bilateral ties. This is related to the emotions and sentiments of our Indian citizens of Sikh faith,” Kumar told a press conference in New Delhi.

A delegation from Pakistan is scheduled to visit India on March 14 to discuss the draft agreement on the Kartarpur corridor. The talks are being held in the shadow of heightened tension between eh two countries following terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama on February 14. Forty CRPF jawans were killed in the incident.

The terror attack, claimed by terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed, saw a series of steps by India to mount pressure on Pakistan, which has not shown “verifiable” action against such organisations. Nearly two weeks after Pulwama attack, the Indian Air Force carried a strike at a terror camp in Pakistan’s Balakot. The terror camp was believed to be the biggest training centre of Jaish-e-Mohammed.

Day after IAF strike, Pakistan Air Force breached Indian airspace and tried to target military facilities. The IAF thwarted the PAF attempt and shot down an F 16 jet that was part of the large package of fighter aircrafts that came from the Pakistani side.

In the process, the IAF lost one MiG 21 Bison, which was shot by PAF. The MiG 21 was piloted by Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who ejected from the downed aircraft but landed in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, where he was captured by the Pakistan Army.

The tension flared up following the incident with international community calling for de-escalation. Amid mounting international pressure, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan announced his government’s decision to release IAF pilot Abhinandan.

The unconditional release of Wing Commander Abhinandan by Pakistan saw tension easing up between the two countries. Kartarpur corridor talks is being viewed by many a step that would help lowering tension further.

Foundation stone of the Kartarpur corridor was laid by Imran Khan on November 28 last year when Congress leader and Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu was in Pakistan. He attended the event amid criticism from political parties including the Congress party.

The Kartarpur corridor, which will allow devotees from India to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan, is expected to be operational by November this year.

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