Kartarpur corridor can build bridges: Venkaiah   

Kartarpur corridor can build bridges: Venkaiah   


  1. Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu laid the foundation stone of Kartarpur corridor in Gurdaspur, a four-lane “human corridor” supposed to be completed by November 23, 2019, in time for Sikh founding Guru Nanak’s 550th birth anniversary.

Important Facts:

  1. The vice president called for a stronger focus on the “five Ps” that underpin the global agenda for sustainable development i.e., People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership.
  2. Vice President described Kartarpur Corridor as a bridge between the people of the two countries and “a unifier, building bridges across old chasms”.
  3. The corridor extends from Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur district to the international border in Pakistan.
  4. The plans to operationalise a visa-free corridor between Dera Baba Nanak in Indian Punjab and Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan’s Punjab heeds a longstanding plea of Sikh pilgrims.
  5. Background:
  • The demand had gathered pace in 1995, and leaders from both sides, including Prime Ministers Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Benazir Bhutto, had pushed for it.
  1. The visa-free corridor is aimed to facilitate pilgrims from India to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur on the banks of the Ravi river in Pakistan, where Shri Guru Nanak Dev spent eighteen years.
  2. The Kartarpur corridor will be implemented as an integrated development project with Government of India funding, to provide smooth and easy passage, with all the modern amenities.
  3. Significance:
  • Given its easy logistics, the 4-km-long Kartarpur corridor would initiate meaningful confidence-building measure(CBM).
  • The corridor will drastically cut down the journey pilgrims have to make from more than 200 km to just 6 km.
  • The initiative can also become a template for cross-border exchanges based on faith, which could provide a balm for many communities.
  • For example, Kashmiri Pandits, who have long asked for access to visit the Sharda Peeth in the Neelum Valley in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, Sufis in Pakistan who wish to visit the dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer, Rajasthan and Sikhs in India and Pakistan wanting to visit important shrines on both sides of the border.
  • The “corridor” would also bring Pak infrastructure right up to the Indian border.
  1. Concerns:
  • Over the past year, gurdwaras in Pakistan have been used for a pro-Khalistan campaign.
  • Earlier this year, a gurdwara displayed posters and distributed pamphlets for the so-called “Sikh Referendum 2020”, and Pakistan denied permission to the Indian envoy and diplomats to visit it.
  • Pakistan’s intent also remains suspect, and Indian officials are wary of the corridor being misused by both state and non-state actors in that country.
  1. Way Forward:
  • Much will depend on how quickly India and Pakistan act on their commitment, after laying down the foundation stone on both the sides by the respective sides.
  • Even more will depend on how the two governments manage their relationship in a way that avoids making pilgrims a pawn in bilateral tensions.
  • It is important that issues related to the corridor are managed in a non-political manner and details left to diplomats and officials to sort out for instance, the issue of Indian consular access to pilgrims.

Print Friendly and PDF