The Kartarpur route along the India-Pakistan border is three-km away from Gurdaspur in Punjab.
New Delhi: A day ahead of India and Pakistan talks to finalise the modalities of the Kartarpur corridor and related technical issues, Pakistan dropped pro-Khalistani leader Gopal Singh Chawla from its Sikh Gurudwara Parbandhak Comm-ittee (PSGPC).
India has been raising concerns and objections regarding the inclusion of anti-India elements in a committee that is critical to the operationalisation of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor.
The meeting is scheduled to take place at 9:30 am at Wagah today, government sources said.
Previously, the second round of talks was scheduled to take place on April 2 in Pakistan, but it was postponed after reports surfaced about the appointment of “controversial elements” by Pakistan in a committee associated with the corridor.
New Delhi is looking forward to the talks with Islamabad and will take up a number of key issues, including infrastructure, pilgrims’ movement and safety, government sources had said on Friday.
The Kartarpur route along the India-Pakistan border is three-km away from Gurdaspur in Punjab. Once opened, it would allow Sikh pilgrims direct access to the historic Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur in Pakistan where Guru Nanak Dev died in 1539.
Sources said that the work on the corridor is expected to be completed by October 31, much before the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev.
One of the main points expected to be raised in the discussion would be India’s demand for the construction of a bridge by Pakistan in the creek area. India has raised concerns regarding the possible flooding of Dera Baba Nanak due to the construction of an embankment-filled road on the Pakistani side.
While India has already been building a bridge on its side to provide all-weather connectivity for the Kartarpur corridor, it has urged Pakistan to build a similar bridge on their side as it would provide safe and secure movement of the pilgrims while addressing concerns over flooding.
The other key issues on the table would be the number of pilgrims allowed to access the corridor for safe and unhindered movement throughout the year. Whether the pilgrims will travel as individuals or in groups, and whether they with travel on foot or will have access to transport will also be discussed.
India is spending Rs 500 crore to build the corridor. The money will be spent, among other things, on installing a high-tech security and surveillance system to ensure the safety of pilgrims and creating an all-weather facility to cater to 10,000 pilgrims on special occasions and 5,000 pilgrims on a daily basis.
The second round of talks on the corridor was announced after the re-election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The first round was held on March 14 on the Indian side of the Attari-Wagah border, during which issues like finalisation of the draft agreement between the two countries were discussed.