The US State Department has welcomed the signing of the Kartarpur Corridor agreement between Pakistan and India, hailing it as “good news”.
After three rounds of negotiations that experienced multiple obstacles, the South Asian neighbors signed the official agreement on October 24 to inaugurate the visa-free Kartarpur Corridor for Indian Sikh pilgrims who seek to visit the Gurdwara Baba Guru Nanak.
The shrine of Baba Guru Nanak, located in Narowal district, is one of the most revered holiest sites in Sikhism. Prime Minister Imran Khan has fulfilled his commitment of opening the Kartarpur Corridor and facilitate the Indian Sikh pilgrims before the 550th birth anniversary.
US Welcomes Kartarpur Agreement
The statement issued by the Acting US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Alice G Wells welcomed the news of the finalized agreement on the Kartarpur Corridor.
Alice Wells said, “Welcome news of a finalized agreement that paves the way for a corridor between India and Pakistan, allowing Sikh pilgrims to visit Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib. We look forward to the formal opening in November.”
The US State Department said that it is looking forward to the formal inauguration of the visa-free Kartarpur Corridor in November. Lauding the initiative, the statement added, “Building people-to-people ties between neighbors is good news.”
Welcome news of a finalized agreement that paves the way for a corridor between India and Pakistan, allowing Sikh pilgrims to visit Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib. We look forward to the formal opening in November. Building people-to-people ties between neighbors is good news. AGW
— State_SCA (@State_SCA) October 24, 2019
The agreement was signed by the official spokesperson of Pakistan’s Foreign Office, Dr. Mohammad Faisal, and the Joint Secretary of the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs, Subhas Das, at zero line, Pakistan-India border, Narowal.
A statement issued by the Foreign Office in this regard stated, “The agreement will facilitate visa free travel of 5000 pilgrims daily (to be enhanced on special occasions, subject to capacity), in groups or individually, on foot or by bus to visit Gurdwara Kartarpur Sahib in Narowal, Pakistan, from dawn to dusk throughout the year, except on public holidays or for exigencies / emergencies, which will be notified to India in advance.”
Prime Minister Imran Khan is scheduled to formally inaugurate the Kartarpur Corridor on November 9th, days before the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak
“Pilgrims will travel on valid Indian passport. Nonresident Indians will also be required to carry their Indian origin card. Pakistan will charge USD 20/pilgrim for each visit as service charges.”
MoFA revealed that the Government of India will provide Pakistan the list of pilgrims ten days in advance. In turn, Pakistan will share the finalized list of pilgrims four days in advance. The statement noted, “Advance exchange of pilgrim list will facilitate pilgrims allowing them to make plans in advance and providing sufficient time to both governments for processing.”
The Foreign Office observed that “despite the challenging environment” the signing of the Kartarpur agreement between the two south Asian neighbors is an unprecedented feat and it is “reflective of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s commitment towards facilitating Nanak Naamlevas to visit their most reverential place of worship in line with Pakistan’s Kartarpur initiative and groundbreaking ceremony last year.”
The six-kilometres long Kartarpur Corridor will connect the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib Kartarpur, the final resting place of the founder of Sikhism, with Dera Baba Nanak Sahib, another prestigious holy site in Sikhism, located in Indian Punjab.
Prime Minister Imran Khan is scheduled to formally inaugurate the Kartarpur Corridor on November 9th, days before the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak.