Kartarpur corridor: Second round of talks scheduled for April 2


LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: (DNA) – Pakistan and India on Thursday agreed to hold a second round of discussion to finalise the modalities for the Kartarpur Corridor on April 2.Briefing the media after the negotiations between the Pakistan and India delegations, Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal said that technical experts from both the countries will meet next Tuesday.Negotiations between Pakistan and India to finalise the modalities for the Kartarpur Corridor took place at the Attari complex in Amritsar.

Praising the Indian delegation, Dr Faisal said that they the environment was conducive and they [India] were very welcoming.

According to diplomatic sources, technical and legal teams from both countries discussed the project.

Pakistan’s 18-member delegation departed for India earlier in the day for talks on the Kartarpur Corridor peace initiative.

Led by Dr Muhammad Faisal, Director General South Asia and South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), the delegation entered India via the Wagah border.

Addressing the media prior to departure, Dr Faisal said the meeting at the Attari Complex was a new first step towards sustainable peace in South Asia.

“Continuing with our spirit of constructive engagement and flexibility, and in line with our sincere efforts to de-escalate the situation for regional peace and stability, we decided to agree to India’s proposal and are here today … for what is the first of a series of meetings.”

“The Kartarpur Corridor initiative is Pakistan’s message for peace and we expect India to also act positively,” said Dr Faisal.

Stressing the need for de-escalation, he asserted that regional peace would remain ever elusive without constructive dialogue between Islamabad and New Delhi.

“We hope the initiative of Prime Minister Imran Khan will not only facilitate the Sikh community but in the current vitiated situation can be a step forward in the right direction from conflict to cooperation, animosity to peace and enmity to friendship.”

The Kartarpur Corridor would give devotees from India visa-free access to one of the holiest sites of Sikhism located in Pakistan.

The Pak-India talks for finalising the project’s modalities are taking place in the backdrop of the recent military standoff triggered by the February 14 suicide bombing in Indian occupied Kashmir’s Pulwama district.

Following tit-for-tat air strikes by Pakistan and India, and amid ill-advised cries for war, it was feared that Kartarpur Corridor talks might be cancelled.

Last week, however, Pakistan announced it remained committed to the objective and would not pull out of the planned talks, forcing the Indian government to reciprocate.

India then changed the venue of the talks from New Delhi to the Wagah-Attari border and denied visas to Pakistani journalists.

The next leg of the talks would be held on March 28 in Pakistan.

Islamabad first announced its decision to open the corridor in August last year, when former Indian cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu attended the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

In November, the prime minister performed the ground-breaking of the corridor that once completed would connect two Sikh holy sites — Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur in Pakistan and Dera Baba Nanak in India.