2 Union ministers to attend ceremony of Kartarpur corridor in Pak
New Delhi: Union Ministers Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Hardeep Singh Puri will travel to Pakistan next week for the groundbreaking ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj conveyed to Islamabad Saturday.
Swaraj's response came hours after Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi invited her to visit Pakistan to attend the ceremony on November 28.
In a letter to Qureshi, Swaraj thanked her Pakistani counterpart for the invite, and said she was unable to travel to Kartarpur Sahib due to prior commitments including election campaign in Telangana and that India will be represented at the ceremony by Harsimrat Kaur Badal and Puri.
"Being mindful of the sentiments of our Sikh citizens and the importance of facilitating their smooth and easy access to holy Gurudwara Katarpur Sahib, we will be sending Hasimrat Kaur Badal, Minister for Food Processing and Industries, and Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs, as the Government of India's representatives for the event planned for November 28," she said in the letter.
Swaraj also hoped that the Pakistan government will expedite the construction of the corridor in order to ensure that "our citizens can pay their respects at the Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib using the corridor as soon as possible".
On Thursday, both the countries announced that they would develop the Katarpur corridor in their respective areas, linking India's border district of Gurdaspur with Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan.
Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, the final resting place of Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev, is located across the Ravi river in Pakistan and is about four kilometres from the Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district of Punjab in India.
The corridor, once built, will give Indian pilgrims easy access to the shrine.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan will inaugurate the groundbreaking ceremony of the corridor on November 28.
Apart from Swaraj, Qureshi also invited Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and state cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu to the ceremony.
The Union Cabinet on Thursday cleared a proposal to develop a corridor from Dera Baba Nanak in Punjab's Gurdaspur district to the International Border to facilitate Indian pilgrims to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan.
Following the Cabinet decision, India urged Pakistan to build the corridor to Kartarpur Sahib on the Pakistani side. Later, Qureshi said Islamabad has conveyed to India its decision to build the Kartarpur corridor.