The first meeting between officials from India and Pakistan to finalise the modalities for setting up of a corridor linking the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in the Pakistani town of Kartarpur with the Gurdaspur district in Punjab was held on Thursday at the Indian side of the Attari-Wagah border.
From the Indian side, officials comprised representatives from the Union Home Ministry, External Affairs Ministry, BSF, National Highways Authority of India and the Punjab government.
Here is the full joint statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs:
The first meeting to discuss the modalities and the draft Agreement for facilitation of pilgrims to visit Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib using the Kartarpur Corridor was held today at Attari, India in a cordial environment.
The Indian delegation was led by Mr. S.C.L. Das, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs. The Pakistan delegation was led by Dr. Mohammad Faisal, DG (SA & SAARC) of Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Both sides held detailed and constructive discussions on various aspects and provisions of the proposed agreement and agreed to work towards expeditiously operationalizing the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor.
Both sides also held expert level discussions between the technical experts on the alignment and other details of the proposed corridor.
It was agreed to hold the next meeting at Wagah on 2 April 2019. This will be preceded by a meeting of the technical experts on 19 March 2019 at the proposed zero points to finalize the alignment.
In November 2018, both India and Pakistan agreed to set up the Kartarpur corridor to link the historic Gurdwara Darbar Sahib — the final resting place of Sikh faith's founder Guru Nanak Dev — to Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur. Kartarpur Sahib is located in Pakistan's Narowal district across the river Ravi, about four kilometres from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine.
The corridor will facilitate visa-free travel of Indian Sikh pilgrims to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur. Pakistan has committed to open the corridor in November 2019 on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak.
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu and Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh had on 26 November 2018 laid the foundation stone of the Kartarpur corridor in Gurdaspur district. Two days later, Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan laid the foundation stone of the corridor in Narowal, 125 km from Lahore.
The Punjab cabinet had passed a special resolution to set up a Dera Baba Nanak Development Authority for the development and beautification of the area in and around Dera Baba Nanak. A Kartarpur Gate has also been proposed to be set up on the Indian side of the International Border which would stand out as a monumental symbol to commemorate the 550th 'Prakash Purb' (birth anniversary) of Guru Nanak Dev. A proposed passenger terminal building (PTB) complex will have all the necessary amenities to facilitate pilgrims intending to visit the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Mar 14, 2019 16:14:47 IST