India, Pakistan to discuss Kartarpur corridor

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Chandigarh, March 12 (IANS) Indian and Pakistani officials will meet at Attari, near Amritsar, on Thursday for their first meeting to finalize the modalities of the Kartarpur corridor to enable Indian pilgrims to pray at the historic Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara in Pakistan.

The meeting, amid heightened tensions between both countries, is being held to discuss the draft agreement for setting up a dedicated corridor that will allow pilgrims from India to visit the Sikh shrine located in Pakistan without obtaining a visa.

Officials from the Home and Foreign Ministries of both countries will attend the meeting at Attari, 30 km from Amritsar.

Both sides will also have a technical level discussion on the alignment of the project.

The meeting will take place exactly a month after the February 14 Pulwama terror attack in which 40 Central Reserve Police Force troopers were killed, triggering India-Pakistan tensions.

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While Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has welcomed the decision of the Home Ministry to fasttrack the Kartarpur corridor, he wants “passport and visa free `khule darshan’ for pilgrims”.

Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev (1469-1539) is highly revered.

The Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara, located about 4.5 km from the international border near the border town of Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district of Punjab, is significant for the Sikh community as it is here that Guru Nanak Dev spent 18 years of his life and was his final resting place.

The governments of India and Pakistan are trying to facilitate the travel of pilgrims to offer prayers at the gurdwara, located in Narowal district of Pakistan. The demand for this has been made by the Sikh community for the past over 70 years.

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–IANS

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