India-Pakistan Kartarpur Corridor talks: Pilgrim's safety, connectivity on India's agenda
Officials from India and Pakistan will meet on Sunday in Wagah to hold the second round of talks over the Kartarpur Corridor for Sikh Pilgrims. India is expected to take up a number of key issues, including the movement and safety of pilgrims and infrastructure. Anil Malik, Joint Secretary (Foreigners) of the Home Affairs Ministry, will be leading the Indian delegation. Here's more.
Islamabad earlier removed pro-Khalistan leader from panel involved in talks
Islamabad will be represented at the Kartarpur Corridor talks by Mohammed Faisal, Director General (South Asia) of the Pakistan Foreign Ministry. The meeting comes only a day after Pakistan dropped a pro-Khalistan leader, Gopal Singh Chawla, from its panel involved in talks. Following India's objections, Islamabad announced a new 10-member Pakistan Sikh Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (PSGPC) after removing the panel's General Secretary, Chawla.
India constructing a bridge while Pakistan insists on building causeway
While India is building a bridge at the Zero Point of the Kartarpur Corridor for providing all-weather connectivity, Pakistan has been reportedly insisting on building a causeway. However, India believes that a causeway would direct more floodwater towards the country. "Flooding of the area is our prime concern," said a senior official of the Home Affairs Ministry on Friday.
We have urged Pakistan to build a bridge: Official
"We have urged Pakistan to build a bridge -like we are building- on their side too as it would help to provide safe movement of the pilgrims and prevent flooding of Indian areas during monsoon when the Ravi river overflows," the Home Ministry official said.
Three rounds of technical-level discussions held with Pakistan side: Official
"Three rounds of technical-level discussions have been held with the Pakistan side...they have been asked not to create structures that would, in any manner, endanger life and property on the Indian side due to flooding," the Home Ministry official said. "This is the first monsoon in which we will see what kind of impact there would be due to the construction," the official added.
Work on Indian side to be completed by October 31
Meanwhile, on the work on India's side, the Home Ministry official said the same would be completed by October 31. "Highway work would be completed by September 30 and site work by October 31," he said. Once constructed, the Kartarpur Corridor would connect Darbar Sahib in Pakistan's Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in India's Gurdaspur facilitating the visa-free travel of Indian Sikh pilgrims.