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Kartarpur connect

Kartarpur connect

Kartarpur gurdwara was built to commemorate the site where the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak settled after his missionary work. Kartarpur lies in the Narowal district of Punjab province of Pakistan. Bringing this to relevance in political parlance in present times, the Kartarpur Corridor is a proposed border corridor between the adamantly disagreeing neighbouring nations of India and Pakistan. This project seeks to connect the Sikh shrines of Dera Baba Nanak Sahib located on the India side of Punjab and Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur in Punjab of Pakistan. The purpose of this initiative is to facilitate pilgrimages from India to visit the Gurdwara in Kartarpur, 4.7 kilometres from the Pakistan-India border, without a visa. This project was first proposed in early 1999 by the then Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Nawaz Sharif as part of the Delhi–Lahore Bus diplomacy. Given this context of the pre-Kargil time, the Kartarpur Corridor project was an initiative to bring the two neighbours closer. Needless to say, times are very different now, especially in the wake of Pathankot, Pulwama, Balakot strikes, and now the dramatic Article 370 move, the equation between the two nuclear-armed neighbours has changed more than drastically. On November 26, 2018, the foundation stone for the Kartarpur Corridor was laid down on the Indian side. Two days later the same was replicated on the Pakistani side. It is reportedly intended that the Corridor will be accomplished before the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev in November 2019. With respect to diplomatic niceties, the incumbent PM of Pakistan Imran Khan compared the decision by the two countries to proceed with the corridor to the fall of the Berlin Wall, expressing that this project may help ease tensions between the two neighbours. But, from a strategic perspective, as the Army chief Bipin Rawat said shortly after laying the foundation stone that Kartarpur should be viewed in "isolation" and not linked to anything else, adding that it was a unilateral decision. The Indian government is correct in its concerns that this corridor might become a means for Pakistan to undermine India's security. Just a day before the announcement, there was a grenade attack on a Nirankari meeting in Amritsar. Punjab's CM Capt. Amarinder Singh pointed out to Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence for the attack stating that the Punjab government has neutralised 15 terror modules in the last 18 months. Another major security concern is that this religion-clad trans-border project could end up being used for propaganda in Pakistani supported pro-Khalistan separatism. There is already evidence of pro-Khalistan posters and sloganeering at Pakistan's gurdwaras. Among the promoters of the Kartarpur corridor are some of Pakistan's Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee office-bearers who are known supporters of the Khalistan movement. At present, pilgrims from India have to take a bus to Lahore to get to Kartarpur. An elevated platform has also been constructed for the same on the Indian side where people use binoculars to get a better view. In the backdrop of these happenings, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday said the Modi government is committed to completing the Kartarpur Sahib corridor within the stipulated time. This project is viewed as hope to revive the diplomatic ties between India and Pakistan which are intensely downgraded.

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