India issues reminder after no response from Pakistan on technical level talks on Kartarpur Corridor

The government of India has issued a reminder to Pakistan over its proposal to hold technical level talks on the Kartarpur Corridor after no response from Islamabad, said sources on Saturday.

NEW DELHI: The government of India has issued a reminder to Pakistan over its proposal to hold technical level talks on the Kartarpur Corridor after no response from Islamabad,  sources said on Saturday.

News agency ANI quoted sources as saying that India had proposed to Pakistan to hold technical level meetings in the first week of August to work out arrangements and finalise the alignment of the interim approach path for the Kartarpur Corridor and develop mechanism to share information on pilgrims between nodal points, develop mechanism to deal with exigencies that may arise in the use of Kartarpur Corridor.

However, there was no response from Pakistan in this regard. A reminder has also been issued to them, the sources said.

India had earlier sought another technical level meeting with Pakistan on Kartarpur Corridor in the first week of August – the fourth this year.The agenda to be discussed during the technical level meeting was – Pakistan building a service road till the time a bridge on Ravi river is not constructed, provision to help pilgrims if an emergency arises and mechanism to share details of pilgrims.

So far three rounds of India-Pakistan technical meetings have taken place in the month of March, April and May 2019 during which both sides endorsed the crossing point coordinates.

Though Pakistan has cut diplomatic and trade ties with India in the backdrop of New Delhi’s internal decision to remove the special status for the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, Islamabad has assured it remains committed to Kartarpur corridor.

“Kartarpur initiative will continue,” Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi announced earlier this week.

If all goes well, the Kartarpur Corridor, which will allow Sikh pilgrims from India to visit the Gurdwara Darbar Sahibin Pakistan, will be thrown open in November to mark the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism, who spent his final days there.There had been demands in India for building a corridor to allow pilgrims to cross into Pakistan from India to visit the Kartarpur Sahib shrine, in Narowal district of Pakistan’s Punjab, and return the same day.

An understanding was reached between India and Pakistan last year to build the corridor to allow Sikh pilgrims visa-free travel to the holy shrine.

In November 2018, the cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi cleared a proposal for the corridor after which the ground-breaking ceremony on the Indian side was done by Vice President Venkaiah Naidu while on the Pakistan side it was done by Prime Minister Imran Khan.India and Pakistan held the first round of talks on the corridor on the Indian side of the Attari-Wagah border on March 14, 2019, despite escalated tensions after the Pulwama terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir exactly a month earlier.

During the second round of talks on July 14, held at Wagah on the Pakistani side, Pakistan agreed to allow 5,000 pilgrims to visit Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara per day.

Pakistan also agreed in principle to allow visa-free, year-long travel to the Kartarpur gurdwara for Indian passport holders and Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) card holders.The pilgrims would be allowed to travel as individuals or in groups and also on foot. Pakistan also assured the Indian delegation that “no anti-India activity would be allowed”.

Work is in full swing on the Indian side of the Kartarpur Corridor with 45% of the work being completed. India is building a four-lane highway and passenger bus terminal.