Guru Nanak had spent the last years of his life at the Gurudwara in the first half of the 16th century AD.
New Delhi/Islamabad: India and Pakistan are finally all set to start discussions on the Kartarpur draft agreement, with Pakistan on Thursday deciding to send a team to India on March 13, and New Delhi welcoming the move.
Pakistan also proposed that an Indian team visit Pakistan on March 28 to finalise the draft agreement, to which New Delhi said that the “follow-up meeting” could be held in Pakistan “as required”. India, in turn, proposed “technical level discussions between engineers on both sides without waiting for discussion on the modalities”, adding that it hoped Pakistan “would positively respond and confirm coordinates of the crossing point as well”.
The two countries are expected to hammer out an agreement on the modalities that will enable Indian Sikh pilgrims to travel on a special “corridor” on both the Indian and Pakistani sides to attend the 550th birth anniversary celebrations in November this year of the founder of Sikhism and the first Guru of the Sikhs Guru Nanak at the historic Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara close to the Indo-Pak border in Pakistani Punjab. Guru Nanak had spent the last years of his life at the Gurudwara in the first half of the 16th century AD.
Pakistan had last month announced that it had shared the draft agreement with India to facilitate the visit of the Sikh pilgrims, to which India had said it had shared the proposed coordinates of the crossing point of the corridor along the border with Pakistan. It remains to be seen whether the expected agreement between the two sides is announced at the meeting in India or Pakistan.
In a tweet on Thursday, Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal said, “In a spirit of constructive engagement, Pakistan has proposed to India that the Pakistan delegation may visit India on 13 March followed by the return visit of the Indian delegation to Pakistan on 28 March to finalise the draft agreement for the Kartarpur corridor. We look forward to positive reciprocity from India.”
Welcoming the move swiftly, New Delhi said, “We welcome the visit of the Pakistan team to discuss and finalise modalities.”
New Delhi had earlier said it had proposed two possible dates of February 26 and March 7 for the visit of the Pakistani delegation to New Delhi to finalise the modalities for use of the corridor by the pilgrims.