New Delhi: India and Pakistan held the second round of talks at the Wagah border on Sunday to finalise the modalities of the Kartarpur Corridor and discuss the number of key issues, including infrastructure, pilgrims’ movement and safety.
After the meet, the Minister of External Affairs said that India has requested Pakistan to allow not only Indians but, also Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) holding OCI cards, to use the Kartarpur Corridor facility. Further, India requested Pakistan to allow 10,000 additional pilgrims to use the corridor on special occasions.
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India requested Islamabad to allow 5,000 pilgrims to visit Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib using the corridor on an everyday basis, given the expected high demand on this side.
India also conveyed concerns regarding possible flooding of Dera Baba Nanak and adjoining areas in India due to earth-filled embankment road or a causeway that is proposed to be built by Pakistan on their side and that it shouldn’t be built even for the time being.
Pending construction of a bridge over old Ravi creek by Pakistan on their territory was discussed, wherein India offered to make interim arrangements for making corridor operational in November 2019, given the historic importance of 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.
While sharing details of bridge built by India on its side, New Delhi also urged Islamabad to build a bridge on their side as this would address flooding related concerns and ensure hassle-free pilgrimage. Pakistan agreed, in principle, to build the bridge at the earliest.
Further, Pakistan also assured that no anti-India activity will be allowed by them on the corridor. “Pakistan side has assured our delegation in response to the request made that no anti-India activity will be allowed by them,” SCL Das, Joint Secretary (Internal Security), MHA said.
“Both sides have agreed to maintain a channel of communication and work towards finalisation on the agreement of modalities. If required, our delegations could meet in India to formally concluding the agreement,” he added.
The work on the corridor is expected to be completed by October 31, way before the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.
The Kartarpur route would allow Sikh pilgrims direct access to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur in Pakistan where Guru Nanak Dev died in 1539.
The first round was held on March 14 on the Indian side of the Attari-Wagah border where issues like finalisation of the draft agreement between the two countries were discussed.