India, Pak to develop Kartarpur corridor on respective sides
New Delhi, November 22
On the eve of Guru Nanak birth anniversary, India and Pakistan on Thursday claimed movement forward on opening of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor. Addressing the long standing sentiments of Sikh community, a Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday approved building and development of the Kartarpur corridor from Dera Nanak in Gurdaspur district in Punjab to the International Border with Pakistan.
The cabinet resolution includes a detailed plan to celebrate across India and globally the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, who spent 18 years at Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib on the banks of Ravi river in Pakistan.
“The Kartarpur Sahib corridor will be implemented as an integrated development project with Government of India’s funding, to provide smooth and easy passage, with all modern amenities,” Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said. A note verbale communicating the same has been sent to Pakistan High Commission from MEA (Ministry of External Affairs) whose spokesperson Raveesh Kumar added that India has “approached and urged the Pakistan government to recognise the sentiments of Sikh community and build a corridor with suitable facilities in their territory to facilitate easy and smooth visits of pilgrims from India”.
The Cabinet announcement came a day after Pakistan media reported that Islamabad has decided to lay foundation for the corridor. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi wrote in a tweet, “Pakistan has already conveyed to India its decision to open Kartarpur Corridor for Baba Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary. PM Imran Khan will do break ground (ground breaking ceremony) at Kartarpura facilities on 28th November. We welcome the Sikh community to Pakistan for this auspicious occasion.”
However, Indian sources claimed that Cabinet passed its resolution after many weeks of internal consultations and preparation within the government. “Any suggestion that the corridor or the celebrations are being planned as a response to a Pakistani proposal is not only preposterous, but hurtful to the sentiments of the Sikh community,”said an official.