New Delhi: Officials from India and Pakistan are slated to meet on Sunday to finalise the modalities of the Kartarpur corridor and related technical issues. Government sources said the meeting is scheduled to take place at 9.30 am at Wagah.
Just a day ahead of the meeting, Pakistan reconstituted its Sikh Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) list, and dropped Khalistani leader Gopal Singh Chawla from the list, allaying concerns that India had raised earlier. Previously, the two countries were slated to meet on 2 April in Pakistan for the second round of talks, which was postponed after reports surfaced about the appointment of "controversial elements" by Pakistan in a committee associated with the corridor.
New Delhi is looking forward to the upcoming talks with Islamabad and will take up a number of key issues, including infrastructure, pilgrims' movement, and safety, government sources had said on Friday.
The Kartarpur route along the India-Pakistan border is three kilometres away from Gurdaspur in Punjab. Once opened, it would allow Sikh pilgrims direct access to the historic Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur in Pakistan, where Guru Nanak Dev passed away in 1539. Sources said that the work on the corridor is expected to be completed by 31 October, which is much before the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.
One of the main points expected to be raised in the discussion would be India's demand for the construction of a bridge by Pakistan in the creek area. India has raised concerns regarding the possible flooding of Dera Baba Nanak due to the construction of an embankment-filled road on the Pakistani side.
While India has already been building a bridge on its side to provide all-weather connectivity for the Kartarpur corridor, it has urged Pakistan to build a similar bridge on their side as it would provide safe and secure movement of the pilgrims while also addressing concerns over flooding. The other key issues on the table would be the number of pilgrims allowed to access the corridor, safe and unhindered movement of pilgrims throughout the year, whether they would travel as individuals or groups, and whether they would travel by transport or foot.
Additionally, India will spend Rs 500 crore to build the corridor. The money would be spent, among other things, on installing a high tech security and surveillance system to ensure the safety of pilgrims and creating an all-weather facility to cater to 10,000 pilgrims on special occasions and 5000 pilgrims on a daily basis.
The first round was held on 14 March on the Indian side of the Attari-Wagah border, during which issues like finalisation of the draft agreement between the two countries were discussed. The second round of talks on the corridor was announced after the re-election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Updated Date: Jul 14, 2019 09:35:10 IST