Over a month after officials from India and Pakistan met at the Zero Line along the international border in Punjab's Dera Baba Nanak sector, India has proposed dates for the next round of senior-level meeting to finalise the modalities for the Kartarpur Corridor.
According to reports, the proposed dates are July 11 to 14 to open the Kartarpur corridor for the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak in November, people privy with the development said on Saturday.
"The meeting would discuss the draft agreement on the modalities for movement of pilgrims along the Kartarpur corridor and resolve outstanding technical issues related to alignment and infrastructure along the corridor," sources were quoted as saying by TOI.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a letter written in response to a congratulatory message by his Pakistani counterpart Imran Khan, has called for "early operationalisation of the Kartarpur corridor which is functional all the year round", according the Ministry of External Affairs.
Sources: India proposes dates for Kartarpur corridor talks with Pakistan. pic.twitter.com/rFOI8CvFI4— ANI (@ANI) June 29, 2019
The letter by PM Modi was sent to Khan on June 12, the MEA said.
"The letter was written by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Imran Khan. In that, there was mention of the Kartarpur corridor and he had written 'we will continue to work for early operationalisation of Kartarpur corridor which is functional all year round'," Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had said in response to a question at a media briefing.
The current status is that there have been three technical-level discussions, and clarifications from the Pakistani side has been sought, he said, adding India is awaiting a response.
The Indian government is committed to building of the corridor as it is a long-pending demand of the pilgrims and "we will take the steps that we have to in order to complete this", Kumar said.
In November 2018, India and Pakistan had agreed to set up the border crossing linking Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur, the final resting place of Sikh faith founder Guru Nanak, to Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district.
Kartarpur is located in Pakistan's Narowal district across the Ravi river, about four km from Dera Baba Nanak.
The first meeting to finalise the modalities for the corridor took place on the Indian side of the Attari-Wagah border on March 14.
Technical experts of the two countries met on March 19 during which alignment, coordinates and several other engineering aspects of the proposed corridor were discussed.
However, on March 29, India conveyed its strong concerns to Pakistan over the presence of a leading Khalistani separatist in a committee appointed by Islamabad on the Kartarpur project.
India also postponed a previously agreed meeting on the project which was to be held on April 2 in Wagah on the Pakistani side.
With PTI Inputs