Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday described the inauguration of the Kartarpur Corridor as momentous occasion in ties between India and Pakistan. “It is a big moment in India-Pakistan relationship. It is good for both the countries that the corridor has been opened. The ties will improve significantly as a result of this new beginning, Singh told reporters.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday formally inaugurated the historic Kartarpur corridor ahead of the 550th birth anniversary of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev. Khan inaugurated the corridor by removing a curtain that was lifted by hot air balloons. A huge 'kirpan' (dagger) was displayed at the inauguration site.
Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said those expressing apprehension that the corridor may be used to encourage separatism in Punjab do not have faith in the great Guru Nanak Devji, the founder of Sikhism.
The corridor links Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur in India to Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan, the final resting place of Sikh faith’s founder Guru Nanak.
The apprehensions are by those people who do not have faith in the great Guru Nanak, Badal said on the sidelines of the inauguration of the corridor while replying to a question.
Earlier this week, Indian government sources said the Pakistan Army was pushing for the Kartarpur corridor with an aim to encourage Khalistani elements in Punjab.
On Saturday, PM Modi thanked his Pakistan counterpart Imran Khan for understanding India's sentiment on the issue of the Kartarpur Sahib corridor. “I would like to thank the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan Niazi for respecting the sentiments of India,” said PM Modi at the Gurdaspur Gurudwara.
Asserting that he is fortunate to be able to dedicate the Kartarpur corridor to the country, he said the opening of the corridor and the integrated check post will bring double happiness to the people. "We have become irresponsible about the environment," the prime minister said.
India had signed an agreement with the neighbouring nation on October 24 on the modalities for operationalisation of the corridor at 'Zero Point' of the international boundary at Dera Baba Nanak, the statement said.
Meanwhile, the five-day festival on the occasion of 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev began in Dera Baba Nanak and Sultanpur Lodhi on Friday and will conclude on November 12.