Pakistan has offered visas for Indian journalists willing to cover the talks on Kartarpur Corridor that would connect two key Sikh religious centres in that country and India. The next talks are scheduled to take place on 14 July 2019 at Wagah, the border point between the two countries along the state of Punjab.
Kartarpur Corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartapur with the Dera Baba Nanak Shrine in the Gurdaspur district of Punjab. It seeks the visa-free movement of Indian Sikh pilgrims, who would need to obtain just a permit. Darbar Sahib was set up in 1522 by the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak Dev.
Pakistani Foreign Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Mohammad Faisal tweeted that Indian journalists could apply for the visa at his country’s diplomatic mission in New Delhi.
The upcoming event on 14 July is the second meeting between Indian and Pakistani officials on a draft agreement to finalise the modalities of the corridor.
The two countries have been working for the past one year on construction of the Corridor to be ready ahead of the 550th anniversary of Guru Nanak’s birth in November 2019.
The developments on the project would be significant for the Sikh community and also lead to a thawing of the prevailing tensions between the two South Asian rivals.
Relations between the two reached a new low in February, when 40 Indian soldiers were killed in a terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir. It led to the Indian Air Force launching an air strike on an alleged secessionist training camp in Pakistan-administered Kashmir on 26 February in retaliation.
The two nuclear-armed nations reached a near war-like stage when Pakistan retaliated on the following day and brought down an Indian fighter jet.
Despite the border escalations, New Delhi and Islamabad did not interrupt the deliberations on the Kartarpur Corridor project.