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India, Pak officials meet at Wagah to discuss Kartarpur Corridor development

The Kartarpur Sahib gurudwara and work on the Kartarpur corridor are seen in this series of photos. (Source: Anas Mallick/WION) Photograph:( WION )

WION Web Team Wagah, Wagah, Lahore, Punjab, India Mar 14, 2019, 10.14 AM (IST) Written By: Sidhant Sibal

The Indian delegation arrived at the integrated check post at Attari-Wagah border today to meet the Pakistan delegation for discussions on the Kartarpur Corridor development which is due to open in November this year.

While the Indian delegation is being led by SCL Das, Joint Secretary (Internal Security) in MHA and Joint Secretary (PAI--Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran) MEA, Deepak Mittal, the Pakistan delegation will be led by Director-General South Asia and SAARC Dr Mohammad Faisal along with officials from Pakistan's interior, law and religious affairs ministry.

Pakistan has brought a 18-member delegation which include Dr Fareha Bugti, director India at the Pakistani foreign ministry, Dilshad Ahmad, Joint Secretary, Pakistan's interior ministry, Tahir Ehsan, Joint Secretary, chairman, Evacuee Trust Property Board, which takes care of Hindu and Sikh shrines in Pakistan, Brig M Akhtar Khan, Deputy DG Pakistan Rangers and Col Nadeem Afzal, Project deputy director, Kartarpur corridor.

Ahead of crossing over to Indian side, the Pakistani foreign office spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal, speaking to media said, "Continuing with our spirit of constructive engagement and flexibility and in line with our sincere efforts to deescalate the situation for regional peace and stability, we decided to agree to the India proposal and that is why we are here today".

There are two primary things on the agenda - the draft memorandum on the agreement which New Delhi shared with Islamabad on the operational modalities of the corridor and border infrastructure alignment. 

India will also raise the Khalistani propaganda which Pakistan has given free rein in Sikh Shrines in its territory.

It is important to note that Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan met members of the Sikh and Hindu community on Wednesday which includes Khalistan ideologue Gopal Chawla. Gopal Singh Chawla has had a very close relationship with 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed. Chawla on multiple occasions has released videos threatening India with violence.

India has already clarified the talks do not mean the resumption of dialogue. Kartarpur corridor has been a long-standing demand of Indian citizens of Sikh faith which Pakistan agreed to after India announced last year in November that it will build the corridor.

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Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu and Punjab CM Amarinder Singh on November 26 last year had laid the foundation stone of the Kartarpur corridor in Gurdaspur district.