India’s Ministry of External Affairs on Wednesday confirmed that the first meeting between India and Pakistan to finalise the plan for the Kartarpur Corridor will be held at Attari-Wagah on the Indian side on March 14. On Tuesday, Pakistan had announced that its delegation will visit India for the meeting.
In November 2018, New Delhi and Islamabad laid the foundation stone for the Kartarpur corridor project, which will connect Dera Baba Nanak in India’s Punjab with the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur area of Pakistan’s Narowal district. Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, died in Kartarpur in 1539. The corridor will allow Indian Sikh devotees to travel without visas to the pilgrimage site.
The development comes amid strained ties between India and Pakistan after bilateral tensions rose following the Pulwama terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir on February 14. Forty Central Reserve Police Force personnel were killed in the bombing.
The Ministry of External Affairs said India has also proposed that a technical-level discussion on the alignment of the corridor be held on the sidelines of the meeting. The decision, the ministry said, is “in keeping with government’s decision to operationalise the Kartarpur Corridor on the occasion of the 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev ji and meet the long pending public demand to have easy and smooth access to the holy Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib”.
In January this year, India shared the coordinates of the crossing point of the corridor along the International Border with Pakistan. India had also invited a delegation from Islamabad, and suggested possible dates for talks – February 26 and March 7. However, Pakistan described India’s response to its proposal to finalise an agreement as childish and claimed that its response would be mature.
In February, Pakistan proposed to send a delegation to India on March 13 to finalise the draft agreement – a move that India welcomed.