Delegations from India and Pakistan held discussions over the Kartarpur corridor on the Indian side of the Attari-Wagah border on Thursday in a ‘cordial environment’, a joint statement released by the Ministry of External Affairs said.
The delegations arrived at the integrated check-post around 10 am to discuss the modalities and draft agreement for building the corridor. “Both sides held detailed and constructive discussions on various aspects and provisions of the proposed agreement and agreed to work towards expeditiously operationalising the Kartarpur Sahib Corridor, the joint statement read. The next meeting will be held Pakistan’s Wagah on 2 April.
A delegation comprising of Union Home Ministry, MEA, Border Security Force, National Highways Authority of India and Punjab government officials were present at the talks. The Pakistani delegation was led by Muhammad Faisal, Director General (South Asia and SAARC) of Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
This was the first time an interaction was held between the two sides after the 14 February Pulwama terror attack and Balakot air strikes. The neighbouring countries held talks to execute the setting up of a corridor linking Gurudwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s of Kartarpur with Gurdaspur district in Punjab. The project will facilitate the travel of Indian pilgrims to a Sikh shrine on the Pakistani side without visas and protect them from any propaganda by Khalistani separatists, official sources told PTI.
Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had said on 9 March that the Kartarpur corridor talks do not signify the resumption of bilateral talks between the two countries. While tweeting about the meeting aimed at holding “technical level discussions”, he also said that a “follow-up meeting can be held in Pakistan, as required”.
India and Pakistan agreed to set up the corridor in November last year at a cost of Rs 140 crore, exclusing the cost of land. Around 50 acres of land would be developed in two phases for this project. The first phase will see the building of a passenger terminal on 15 acres of land. The building will represent values of oneness and humanity, will be enable the smooth movement of around 5,000 pilgrims every day through 54 immigration counters and will house food courts, parking and VIP lounges, the PTI report said.
The second phase will see the development of a viewer gallery and restaurant atop a watch tower, a five-bed hospital, accommodation for around 300 pilgrims, and transit accommodation.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan laid the foundation stone for the project in November last year in Pakistan’s Norowal. The Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara is located four kilometres away from the Indian-Pakistan border on the Pakistani side.
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Updated Date: Mar 14, 2019 15:44:19 IST