The agreement on the Kartarpur corridor between India and Pakistan has been concluded and the Sikh shrine will be launched from next month. Significantly, the devotees will be able to reach the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur for Ardas before the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji. Experts believe that with the beginning of the Kartarpur corridor, a new initiative for peace talks between the two countries (India and Pakistan) will also begin.
- It is noteworthy that the demand for opening of the corridor leading to Kartarpur Sahib for Indian Sikh pilgrims has been raised by India on several occasions.
- During the historic visit to Lahore in 1999, the then Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee discussed the issue with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
- In 2000, the then Chief Executive of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf, approved the construction of a corridor to facilitate the visit of Sikh devotees at the Kartarpur Sahib Gurdwara. However, no specific work could be done on this issue till the year 2018.
- When Imran Khan was elected Prime Minister of Pakistan in August 2018, he invited Navjot Singh Sidhu to his swearing-in ceremony and from there the issue of Kartarpur corridor once again came under discussion.
- Subsequently, in November 2018, the Indian Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister passed a resolution to celebrate the 550th birth anniversary of Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji in the year 2019 and also approved the construction and development of Kartarpur corridor from Dera Baba Nanak to International Border in Gurdaspur district. was given.
- India also urged Pakistan to build the corridor from the international border to Kartarpur Sahib, respecting the religious sentiment of the Indian Sikh community.
- Pakistan accepted India’s demand and said that it is ready to open the corridor for Indian pilgrims.
- On 26 November 2018, Vice President of India Venkaiah Naidu laid the foundation stone of the proposed corridor in the Indian territory.
Importance of Kartarpur Sahib
- Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, Kartarpur is located on the banks of river Ravi in Pakistan and is about 3-4 km from Indo-Pakistan border in Pakistan. is far.
- It is about 4 km from Dera Baba Nanak temple in Gurdaspur district, India. Is far away and about 120 km from Lahore, Pakistan. Is in the northeast.
- It is noteworthy that Guru Nanak Dev ji spent 18 years here before his death (1539).
- The first Guru of the Sikh community spent important years of his life here, due to which this place is considered very important for the followers of Sikhism.
- After the repair and restoration of the gurdwara in the year 1999, it was opened for pilgrims and since then Sikh groups have been visiting it regularly.
- Sikh groups visit Kartarpur Sahib mainly on 4 occasions (1) Baisakhi, (2) Martyrdom Day of Guru Arjun Dev Ji, (3) the death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and (4) Birthday of Guru Nanak Dev.
Travel rules in Kartarpur corridor
- According to the rules, any devotees who wish to visit the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Kartarpur can carry a maximum of Rs 11000 and 7 kg with them. Only a bag of weight can be carried.
- Those involved in the Sikh batch will not be allowed outside the Gurdwara campus.
- Any Indian can travel in the Kartarpur corridor and will not require a visa.
- Significantly, a visa is not required for the journey, but it is mandatory for the passengers to have a valid passport.
- The journey in this corridor will be about 1 day, ie the passengers who start the journey in the morning will have to return by evening.
- A fee of US $ 20 will be charged for this journey towards Pakistan. However, this duty is constantly being opposed by India
Kartarpur Corridor and Indo-Pak Relations
- The Kartarpur Corridor will connect India’s border district of Gurdaspur with Pakistan’s historic Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, which will be a new opportunity to strengthen cultural relations between the two countries.
- This corridor will prove to be a historic link between India and Pakistan and will also boost tourism as more and more pilgrims will undertake holy pilgrimage between the two countries throughout the year.
- This corridor will enhance connectivity between the citizens of both countries, giving people of both countries an opportunity to connect through invisible threads of love, sympathy and spiritual heritage.
- Despite all the tensions between the two countries, the negotiations on the Kartarpur corridor did not have any significant impact, which makes it clear how important it is for both countries.
- It is important to note that even when the tension between Jammu and Kashmir increased in both countries, the meetings on the Kartarpur corridor continued regularly.
- The economic situation of Pakistan battling terrorism has deteriorated and Pakistan is hopeful that with the increase of religious tourism between the two countries, the economic relationship will also be strengthened and Pakistan’s economic situation will improve to some extent.
- The situation in Pakistan in terms of religious tourism is quite different from that of India. Sikh shrines in Pakistan exist in large numbers, while the number of Sikhs in Pakistan has decreased considerably after independence in Pakistan.
- On the other hand, Pakistan is an Islamic nation but most of the holy places of Islam are present in Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq.
- In such a situation, if Pakistan wants to increase its religious tourism, then it has to emphasize the development of Sikh shrines present in its country.
- The economic relations between India and Pakistan have been deteriorating for the last two years. The Kartarpur corridor is expected by traders of both countries to improve the economic relations of the two countries.
- Agricultural cooperation will also increase in both countries and Punjab’s potato and cotton producers will benefit.
- Although agreements have been signed between the two countries, there are still some challenges. Pakistan has set a fee of US $ 20 for this trip, but India is opposing this fee and India says that it is a religious visit and it will burden the devotees, but Pakistan says that it has Invested a lot on the development of the corridor and hence it is charging a fee of US $ 20 per devotee.
- Along with this, the issue of safety of passengers is also very challenging for this corridor. There is no denying the possibility of terrorist attacks in Pakistan, in such a situation, the safety of the devotees can pose a major obstacle in the journey of Kartarpur corridor. However, the Pakistan administration has claimed stringent security arrangements.
- It has been seen many times in the past that Pakistan has used Gurdwaras for Khalistan sympathy. Khalistan flags have been seen at gurdwaras in Pakistan and Sikh separatists use them to spread anti-India propaganda.
- Security experts are apprehensive that many anti-India elements may use this route to enter India.
- It is important to note that some holy places of Sikhism are located in India, while some places are located in Pakistan. In this case, like the Buddhist circuit, a Sikh circuit connecting all the holy Sikh places of the two countries can also be constructed.
The Kartarpur corridor not only has religious and spiritual significance but it is also very important politically. The relevance of this corridor cannot be ruled out given the current circumstances between the two countries. But it is necessary that different concerns in this regard should be given attention as soon as possible and Pakistan can assure India on issues like safety of travelers and Khalistan. Apart from this, many other similar efforts are needed in future so that relations between the two countries can be made easier.
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