Gurudwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistani town of Kartarpur
India on Thursday sought visa-free access for 5,000 pilgrims per day to Gurudwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistani town of Kartarpur.
“Our side pressed on the need for arranging the visit of at least 5000 pilgrims per day to begin with, in the phase 1 of the project. This should include not only Indian nationals but people of Indian origin as well,” said SCL Das, Joint Secretary of MHA, while addressing the media on India-Pakistan meeting on Kartarpur.
“We have also emphasised from our side that in the spirit of Kartarpur corridor, it should be absolutely visa free. There should not be any additional encumbrances in the form of any additional documentation or procedures,” he added.
India also suggested that pilgrims be allowed to travel on foot to Kartarpur shrine and that the corridor should remain open for seven days a week.
Amid the escalating tension in their ties, India and Pakistan held their first meeting to finalise the modalities for a corridor linking Gurudwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistani town of Kartarpur with Gurdaspur district in Punjab.
A joint statement issued after the talks said both sides held detailed and constructive discussions on various aspects and provisions of the project and agreed to work towards expeditiously operationalising the Kartapur Sahib Corridor (KSC).
The meeting took place on the Indian side of the Attari-Wagah border.
The meeting took place amid heightened tensions between the two neighbours following India's air strike on a terrorist training camp of the Jaish-e-Mohammed and Pakistan's subsequent retaliation.
It was agreed to hold the next meeting at Wagah on April 2 and it will be preceded by a meeting of the technical experts on March 19 at the proposed zero points to finalise the alignment of the corridor, according to the statement.
Last November, India and Pakistan agreed to set up the border crossing linking Gurudwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur - the final resting place of Sikh faith's founder Guru Nanak Dev - to Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India's Gurdaspur district.
Kartarpur Sahib is located in Pakistan's Narowal district across the river Ravi, about four km from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine.
The Indian delegation at the meeting was led by SCL Das, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs while the Pakistani team was headed by Dr Mohammad Faisal, DG (South Asia and SAARC) of Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.