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Kartarpur corridor: India to send 2 ministers to breaking ground ceremony in Pakistan

'We will take this up at the highest level with the Government of Pakistan,' the minister had tweeted.? Photograph:( PTI )

WION New Delhi/Islamabad Nov 25, 2018, 07.14 AM (IST) Written By: Anas Mallick , Sidhant Sibal

In what can be seen as a step forward in India-Pakistan relations, India will be sending two ministers to take part in Kartarpur corridor's groundbreaking ceremony on November 28, which will be done by Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan. India will be represented by Union Minister for Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Minister of State (IC) for Housing & Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri. 

In a tweet, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said, "We welcome this proposal and we are sending two Ministers to represent Government of India" 

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She also hoped that the Government of Pakistan will "expedite the construction of the corridor" in order to ensure that "our citizens can pay their respects at the Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib using the corridor as soon as possible."

This comes after Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi extended an invitation to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, along with Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh and Punjab tourism minister Navjot Singh Sidhu. Navjot Singh Sidhu has already confirmed that he will be going for the ceremony on November 28.

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Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Senator Faisal Javed Khan telephoned Navjot Singh Sidhu to extend the invitation.

The Indian cabinet announced that India will be building the corridor till the international border on Thursday and urged Islamabad to build it soon. Citing the fall of the Berlin wall, PM Modi also backed the building of the corridor and said, "Kisne socha that ki Berlin ki deewar gir sakti hai, shayad Guru Nanak Dev Ji ke aashirwad se, Kartarpur ka corridor sirf corridor nahi, Jan Jan ko jodne ka bahut bada karan ban sakta hai" (Who would have thought that Berlin wall would fall. With the blessings of Guru Nanak Dev ji, Kartarpur corridor will not be just a corridor but will act as a bridge to connect people).

President Ram Nath Kovind along with Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh will be laying the foundation for the corridor on November 26 while Pakistan's PM Imran Khan will be laying the foundation on November 28. It was a long-standing demand of the Sikh community in India and New Delhi had been pursuing it for many years. 

The corridor issue was again highlighted during Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu's visit to the swearing-in ceremony of Pak PM Imran Khan in which according to Sidhu, Pakistan army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa told him that the corridor should be open.

Story highlights

'We welcome this proposal and we are sending two Ministers to represent Government of India,' External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said. The two ministers are Union Minister for Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Minister of State (IC) for Housing & Urban Affairs Hardeep Singh Puri.