Despite differences over the Kashmir issue, India and Pakistan have a mutual understanding to work on the Kartarpur Border Corridor, allowing Indian Sikh pilgrims to mark the 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev in November 2019.
The Union Cabinet meeting chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the construction of the Kartarpur corridor from Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district to the International Border.
The official spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs Raveesh Kumar said “In keeping with the resolution by the Cabinet to commemorate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Devji in 2019, we have approached and urged the Pakistan government to recognize the sentiments of the Sikh community and build a corridor with suitable facilities in their territory to facilitate easy and smooth visits of pilgrims from India to Kartarpur Sahib throughout the year.” He added that the Kartarpur corridor project will be implemented with Central Government funding. Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Twitter urged Pakistan to reciprocate and develop a corridor with suitable facilities in their territory.
This announcement was immediately welcomed by Islamabad as ‘victory for peace’. According to the Express Tribune the Indian announcement has come nearly three months after Pakistan’s Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa had told India’s cricket-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu at the inauguration of Prime Minister Imran Khan on August 18 that Pakistan was ready to open the route to Gurdwara Darbar Sahib at Kartarpur for Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary. The Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry tweeted “Indian cabinet’s endorsement of Pakistan’s proposition on Kartarpur Border opening is a victory of peace lobby in both countries. Its a step towards the right direction and we hope such steps will encourage the voice of reason and tranquillity on both sides of the border.”
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has announced that the groundbreaking of Kartarpur Corridor will be done by Prime Minister Imran Khan on November 28.
Late Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had first proposed the Kartarpur corridor in 1999 when he had taken a bus ride to Lahore. This had also been a long-standing demand from the Sikh community for easy access to the revered shrine. The Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, located in the Kartarpur area of Punjab’s Narowal District is the final resting place of the founder of Sikhism Guru Nanak Devji. This is one of the holiest shrines of the Sikh community.
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