Explained- Kartarpur Sahib Corridor: India, Pakistan held talks to finalise modalities for Kartarpur Corridor
Indian and Pakistan's officials on March 14, 2019 held the first round of talks to discuss and finalise the modalities for Kartarpur Corridor at the Indian side of the Attari-Wagah border.
The corridor will facilitate visa-free travel of Indian Sikh pilgrims to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, Pakistan. Indian Government seeks to operationalise the Kartarpur Corridor by November 2019 on the occasion of the 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.
The Indian delegation was led by SCL Das, Joint Secretary in the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, while, the Pakistan delegation was led by Director General South Asia and SAARC, Muhammad Faisal, who is also spokesperson of Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry.
Both the sides will hold the next meeting at Wagah on April 2, 2019.
Meeting held exactly a month after Pulwama terror attack
The meeting was held exactly a month after the Pulwama terror attack in which a suicide bomber killed an Indian army convoy of over 40 CRPF personnel on February 14, 2019 in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama district.
The responsibility of the attack was claimed by a Pakistan-based militant group, Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), which is led by Masood Azhar.
Laying of foundation stone for Dera Baba Nanak - Kartarpur Sahib Road Corridor
Earlier, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on November 26, 2018 laid the foundation stone for the construction of Dera Baba Nanak - Kartarpur Sahib Road Corridor on the Indian side at Mann village in Gurdaspur district of Punjab, marking a new beginning in India-Pakistan relations.
The foundation stone was laid in the presence of Union Minister for Road Transport Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister of Food Processing Harsimrat Kaur Badal, and Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amrinder Singh.
Project work on Kartarpur Corridor on Indian side
• India has identified 50 acres of land for the Kartarpur Sahib corridor.
• The Passenger Terminal Building complex will be built in two phases. It will be a green building and will display murals and photographs based on rich Indian cultural values.
• The design of the complex is inspired by the symbol 'Khanda' which symbolises values of oneness and humanity. The building will facilitate movement of nearly five thousand pilgrims.
• A robust security system will be put in place in and around the Passenger Terminal Building.
• The terminal building will be ready to host at least 5,000 pilgrims on any given day.
On November 22, 2018, the Union Government decided to build the Kartarpur road Corridor upto the international border between India and Pakistan as an integrated development project to mark 550th birth anniversary of the Guru Nanak Dev Ji in 2019.
India and Pakistan had announced to build Corridors on their respective sides to let Sikh pilgrims visit the holy shrine without visa and to help them walk across and come back without having to secure a visa.
Kartarpur Corridor: A bridge between India and Pakistan
• The Kartarpur Road Corridor will link India's border district of Gurdaspur with the historic Gurudwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan, which was the resting place of Guru Nanak.
• The Indian side of Corridor starts from Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district and extends upto International border between India and Pakistan.
• The corridor will be developed by National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and will be funded by the Union Government.
• The project corridor is 4 lanes with service road and will encompass all other appropriate amenities needed by pilgrims while visiting the Gurudwara Darbar Sahib, Kartarpur in Pakistan.
• This corridor will be a historical landmark between India and Pakistan and will also boost tourism as more pilgrims would visit the holy shrine throughout the year between two countries.
• A high-level committee chaired by Captain Amrinder Singh will regularly review, monitor and oversee the implementation of the project to celebrate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak.
• The corridor is seen as a bridge between the people of the two countries; it opens new possibilities to connect the people of two countries through love, empathy and invisible threads of common spiritual heritage.
• India had first proposed the Kartarpur Sahib corridor in 1999 when the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee took a bus ride to Lahore.