Kartarpur corridor: Pakistani team to visit India on March 13, discuss modalities

Kartarpur gurudwara. (Picture courtesy: Pakistan Foreign Ministry) Photograph:( WION )

WION New Delhi, Delhi, India Feb 07, 2019, 09.55 PM (IST) Sidhant Sibal

A Pakistani team will visit India on March 13 to discuss the modalities of the Kartarpur corridor, which will then be followed by the visit of an Indian team to Pakistan. 

Pakistan has proposed two new dates — in responsed to an Indian proposal — March 13 for the visit of the Pakistani delegation, followed by a return visit of the Indian delegation on March 28 to finalise the draft agreement for the Kartarpur corridor.

The Indian proposal on January 22 had proposed the dates of February 26 and March 7 for the Indian and Pakistani officials to meet on. 

In a tweet on Thursday evening, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, "We welcome the visit of Pakistan team to discuss and finalise modalities for facilitating visit of pilgrims through Kartarpur Sahib Corridor on 13 March 2019 to India. Follow up meeting can be held in Pakistan, as required."

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India has also proposed technical-level discussions between engineers on both sides without waiting for the discussion on the modalities. 

"We hope Pakistan would positively respond & confirm coordinates of crossing point as well," Kumar tweeted Thursday. 

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India has already shared with Pakistan the coordinates of the corridor's zero or crossing point along the International Border. 

Meanwhile, speaking to the Pakistani media, Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria called the Kartarpur corridor a "corridor of faith" that will build trust between the two countries. "I am certain this vision will drive the relationship between India and Pakistan," he said. 

Earlier this week, the second inter-agency meet on the Kartarpur corridor took place at the home ministry. The meet was chaired by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba and attended by the Punjab chief secretary, Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan Ajay Bisaria and BSF Director General RK Misra.

India will be sending Pakistan a draft proposal on the corridor very soon, even as the process of land acquisition for the corridor gathers pace.

Briefing reporters after the meeting, Punjab Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh said, "We are hopeful that we will send the draft proposal to Pakistan and complete legal modalities within a month."

India and Pakistan approved the building of the Kartarpur corridor last year so that Indian pilgrims could easily visit the Kartarpur gurudwara in Pakistan to celebrate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak this year. Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, lived for 18 years at Kartarpur gurudwara. 

India's Vice-President Venkaiah Naidu laid the foundation stone for the corridor on the Indian side on November 26 2018 while Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan laid the foundation stone for the corridor on the Pakistan side on November 28.