India, Pakistan reach agreement on Kartarpur corridorDate: 15 July 2019 Tags: Indian Foreign Policy
India and Pakistan have narrowed their differences on proposed Kartarpur corridor after Pakistan has agreed to give year-long visa-free access for Indian pilgrims to the holy Gurdwara of Kartarpur Sahib. The agreement was reached at the second formal meeting held at Wagah.
Background: Differences between both neighbouring countries had emerged in March 2019 over presence of pro-Khalistan elements in the bi-lateral arrangement of this corridor and India’s request to build a bridge on its side. But Pakistan initially proposed road on embankment and later on the proposed causeway.
Final provisions agreed
- Pakistan will allow visa-free travel for Indian passport-holders and OCI card-holders seven days a week.
- It will also allow 5,000 pilgrims o visit the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara per day throughout the year.
- Pilgrims will be allowed to travel as individuals or in groups and also on foot. There will be provision for permit system for pilgrims travelling through religious corridor.
- Pakistan also agreed India’s demand to build bridge on its side to make corridor immune to flooding and ensure an all-weather corridor to gurdwara through the year.
About Kartarpur corridor
It is proposed four lane 4.19 km highway along India and Pakistan border that connect Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India’s Gurdaspur district (Punjab). It will facilitate visa-free movement of Indian Sikh pilgrims, who will have to just obtain permit to visit Kartarpur Sahib. It is expected to be completed by November 2019 end to commemorate 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji
About Gurdwara Darbar Sahib
- It is located at Kartarpur in Pakistan’s Narowal district on banks of River Ravi. It is visible from Indian side of border.
- Historical Significance: It was established in 1522 by First Sikh Guru Nanak Dev Jo. It was here that Nanak Dev ji had assembled Sikh community and lived for 18 years until his death in 1539.
- Background: This Gurdwara was opened to Indian pilgrims after Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee paid visit to Pakistan in 1999. Since then Sikh Pilgrims are visiting shrine regularly.